Demonstrators in Stockholm bear a sign reading "stop bombing Afghanistan."
afghanistan

"We must see to it that Swedish soldiers are brought home"

Hundreds of people gathered in central Stockholm on Saturday in a demonstration to bring Sweden's troops back from Afghanistan, reports news agency TT.

Former defense minister Thage G. Peterson, a Social Democrat, was one of the speakers. So was author Jan Myrdal, who ended his speech saying, "We must see to it that the Swedish soldiers are brought home."

Some 500 Swedish soldiers are stationed in the northern part of Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led security mission, though Sweden is not a member of NATO. Recent reports have questioned whether Afghanistan is as safe for Swedish troops as the military had been projecting, and Swedish soldiers faced another attack on Friday.

The Swedish center-left Red-Green opposition has called for a gradual withdrawal of the troops beginning next year and reaching completion in 2013. Although Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has signaled that he hopes to work with the opposition on this issue, he is likely to propose extending the troops' presence when Parliament debates the subject next month.

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