Norway’s Largest Party Demands More Soldiers on Overseas Missions

Norway’s participation in international missions has reached its lowest point since 1978, a situation that Labour, formerly led by current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, wants to change.

Norway’s Labour Party, has slammed Conservative Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen for insufficient participation in foreign operations.

Anniken Huitfeldt, the chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committee, underscored that Norway hasn’t had so few soldiers out in international service in almost 40 years.

In 1978, Norway’s participation in international missions spiked to 1,862 soldiers, as Oslo started sending troops to the UNIFIL force in Lebanon. Between 1979 and 2012, number of Norwegian soldiers abroad fluctuated from 2,190 to 3,650. Since 2012, however, there has been a clear decline. In 2020, only 1,095 soldiers participated in overseas missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lithuania, Mali, and the Ivory Coast.

According to Huitfeldt, it is a misconception that Norway’s preparedness is somehow compromised by sending more soldiers on foreign missions.

“The reality is the opposite. It is for the best for our own safety. We must prevent and fight terrorism where it originates”, Huitfeldt emphasised.

Huitfeldt has particular faith in assignments where Norwegian soldiers work closely with other countries’ security forces, highlighting the work done in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, Norwegian soldiers from the army and the special forces have trained their Afghan and…

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