‘I Still Don’t Know How This Happened’: Finnish Ambassador Calls Taliban Takeover ‘Surprising’

Europe

According to Pekka Kosonen, the Taliban’s* rapid seizure of power came as a surprise to many experts, as there was an impression that the West was prepared to support Afghan security forces after the withdrawal, both materially and financially.

Despite following the course of events over the past two years in the war-torn country, Finland’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Pekka Kosonen said he was as surprised as anyone else over the sudden outcome following the Taliban onslaught.

During a meeting of Finnish diplomats in Helsinki, Kosonen said that before the country’s power structure began to fundamentally change in mid-August, he was under the impression that western countries were prepared to support Afghan security forces, both materially and financially, after international troops made their planned withdrawal after a nearly 20-year presence.

“Yes, that’s what was believed. But it happened differently”, Kosonen said, as quoted by national broadcaster Yle.

Kosonen was on holiday in Finland when the Taliban smashed the country’s defences and took control of the capital, Kabul, on 15 August. At midnight the same day, the Finnish Embassy in Kabul was shut down indefinitely.

The ambassador noted that the Taliban’s rapid seizure of power came as a surprise to many experts.

Finland, which has taken part in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan since 2002 despite its formally non-aligned status, has received many requests from Afghans looking to leave…

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