Finland sends more troops to Afghanistan
A large majority of the votes of the Finnish Parliament made sure Finland will send soldiers to enhance security at the elections in
Afghanistan. Below is a transcript of the article published on Helsingin Sanomat's international edition website.
Helsingin Sanomat, International Edition
Parliament overwhelmingly passed a measure on Friday authorising Finland to send soldiers to enhance security in the elections in Afghanistan.
Finland is nearly doubling its crisis management force in Afghanistan to 210. The measure was passed 140 to 14. Voting against the proposal were all Left Alliance parliamentarians. Social Democratic MP Esa Lahtela. Pentti Oinonen (True Finns) abstained, and 44 members were absent.
Afghanistan is holding presidential and provincial council elections soon. The exact date has not yet been set. The whole international military presence will increase during the elections by between 7,000 and 10,000 soldiers. The poor security situation is seen as a major impediment to the success of the elections.
A total of 41 countries are taking part in the NATO-led Afghanistan operation. Finland has been involved in the operation since 2002. Finnish peacekeepers mainly serve in the north of the country, which is considered relatively peaceful. One Finnish peacekeeper has been killed in Afghanistan. He fell victim to a roadside bomb in Maimana in May 2007.
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