African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Norwegians out of the fray

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

Norwegian officers are being pulled out of the front line in Afghanistan, in order to train Afghan forces. That means it will be a long time until Norwegian troops again see action against Taliban insurgents.

Lt Col Rune Solberg lacks specialist troops to continue offensive.

PHOTO: RUNE THOMAS EGE / FORSVARET

A lack of trained specialists will severely limit the offensive capability of the Norwegian force when the present contingent is replaced in June. Instead of the 100 troops requested, only 40 will be available.

The long-range weapons that have given them a clear fighting advantage will be put in storage until further notice. The new contingent lacks the necessary training to operate these weapons.

“I’m responsible for the troops,” says Lt.Col Rune Solberg, the new commander of the Telemark Batallion. “They can’t be used for missions that they’re not equipped to handle.”

Norwegian forces concluded a month-long operation against the Taliban earlier this month. Together with NATO allies and Afghan forces, some 250 Norwegians took part in fighting in northwestern Afghanistan. A combination of mortars, air strikes and armoured vehicles gave alliance forces a winning edge.

Norwegian troops have taken part in the Quick Reaction Force under ISAF control during the last two years.

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API

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