Rebuilding Afghanistan

Turkey Takes Over Sweden's Afghan Aid

On Wednesday, Sweden is transferring responsibility for half of its current region in Afghanistan to Turkey.

Svenska Dagbladet newspaper reports that the Turks will redouble civilian efforts, providing many more resources than the Swedes, who have apparently not managed to meet the area's needs.

Since 2005, Sweden has been in charge of security and civil reconstruction of a region in northern Afghanistan, but the Turks will now take over reconstruction efforts in the western part of that region, where two of the poorest provinces lie.

But Sweden will continue to lead security efforts.

Already in 2008, Ustad Atta Muhammed Noor, the governor of a neighboring province had complained that the Swedes had been ineffective.

"The Swedes have been here for three years now. No reconstruction is happening, there is not enough development. The Swedish government should have a development program for the provinces," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

Magnus Forsberg from the Swedish Committee in Afghanistan, an NGO based in Kabul, told the newspaper, "The Turks have a lot of acceptance among the local population. They are Muslims and do not take part in the same manner of war as the Americans."

Also on Wednesday, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt returned from Kabul, where he attended the largest international conference on aid to Afghanistan to take place in the last three decades.