Swedish soldiers part of the NATO International Security Assistant Force (ISAF) in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

"Attacks Due to More Active Patrolling"

The increased number of attacks against the Swedish-Finnish peacekeeping force in Afghanistan (ISAF) is not due to the forthcoming elections in the country, according to the force's chief of staff Jerker Persson. Instead it is because the force has been patrolling more actively in certain areas.

The recent conflict situations, where three Taliban are reported to have been killed, have raised fears in Sweden for the lives of the Swedish soldiers, but also brought out criticism against what is feared to be a too heavy handed approach, which is seen to hamper progress in civilian areas.

However, in an interview with Radio Sweden, chief of staff Jerker Persson says that, if anything, the recent conflict situations have increased the local population's support for the ISAF-force. Moreover, Jerker Persson does not think that what has happened over the past week has had any negative effect on the implementation of the civilian projects that have been financed by Swedish money to improve health and education in the area.

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