What is Sweden doing in Afghanistan?

Are we fighting in Afghanistan? It rather seems like we are getting executed by suicide candidates and blown to pieces by mines. My thoughts are with the recently unfortunate soldiers and their interpreter. McChrystal's new strategy of mingling with the people will apparently be met by these suicide missions. What happened had apparently happened quite often in the southern areas and around Kabul.

Most people I hear say that we are in Afghanistan to build the country and to give it stability. The idea of being a support agency rather than a force eradicating extremists have been the European line most of the time. Obama said during his campaign that he was out to catch Osama bin Laden. The German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle now says that people can rely on the EU but do not need to fear the EU. That could mean openended support for Afghanistan.

This idea contrasts the new American line where Obama and McChrystal seem to say that we will give the Afghans and their army one more chance, after this ridiculous election, to stand up for stability and prosperity in their country. However, if they don't demonstrate this intent they are out of there. Obama said he'd rather build his own country.

However, the fact that Swedish soldiers are beginning to die makes the mission, as it is seen in the eyes of people, more problematic. It is one thing to die for your country and for its security but another to die for the Afghans. In my humble opinion people should not die in development missions.

While people are pondering the 'What are we doing there' question, the least we can do is to reinforce the troops as requested no when they probably are going to get more heat from the southern activities than before. It looks like we are not any more alone in our little corner of Afghanistan but rather becoming part of the whole mission there. This is important because a high officer in the Swedish army was interviewed in Studio Ett, the radio program in P1, and he seemed not particularly willing to state clearly whether he was subordinated to the US or to the Germans.

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