Swedes in Afghanistan

Foreign Policy Debate on Afghanistan

The Swedish parliament's foreign policy debate today is expected to focus very much on this Nordic nation's participation in the war in Afghanistan - with opposition Left Party demands to bring the 500 Swedish soldiers home and the Liberal Party sharing power in the government coalition calling for more troops.

The other political parties both in the coalition and in the opposition are divided over the issue.

A public opinion poll shows an increase in support for a Swedish presence in Afghanistan - seen by some as an expression of sympathy for the two Swedish officers shot to death recently in Afghanistan.

But more and more opinion makers and newspaper editorial writers of different political backgrounds are questioning the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan - some requesting that Sweden's military input should be entirely replaced with development assistance instead.

In some of the sharp attacks on each side, the conservative moderate Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has rejected criticism that the center-right government is too pro-NATO, has alienated the Russians and ignore women’s and human rights all over the globe.

He has also criticized the opposition coalition of the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Greens for being divided on many foreign policy issues – especially Aghanistan.

Bildt also says Sweden hopes that Russia will soon be a member of the World Trade Organization.

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