Sweden to strengthen presence in Afghanistan

Four days after the first jihadist suicide bomb on Swedish soil injured two in an attack in downtown Stockholm, lawmakers voted 290-20 with 19 abstentions to extend the country’s military presence in Afghanistan.

A Swedish soldier serving in Afghanistan.

The decision allows the government to add troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. About 500 operate there now; the government now has authority to increase that to 855.

“We will not be intimidated. Our resolve is firm,” said Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s prime minister.

Säpo, Sweden’s national security intelligence agency, said in a Dec. 14 report to the government that some 200 Islamic extremists and militants hostile to Sweden and the West currently reside in Sweden. Some have naturalized Swedish citizenship; more than 90 percent staunchly oppose to Sweden’s military participation in Afghanistan.

“We are engaged in countering their activities in Sweden, and we also try to stop them from training in camps abroad,” said Marlena Rambe, a chief risk analyst at Säpo’s counter-terrorist unit. “For the moment, we consider the threat to be relatively limited, and something we can deal with primarily through preventative measures.”

Source; Defense News,

Comment:

By Aaron in Jerusalem:

Sweden is a small country without a large army or a tradition of martial strength. It has been hundreds of years since Swedish soldiers fought a real war.  Despite the cross on its flag, Sweden is one of the most secular, post-Biblical countries in Europe.

Despite this, Sweden has given the entire Western world an example of courage to follow in not caving in to the terror and violent intimidation of Islamism. One could wish that the courage displayed by the Swedes would be emulated by the far larger, richer and more militarily powerful countries of the continent like Germany and France.

It goes without saying that we must never cease to pray for the soldiers Sweden and other countries are sending into harms way to protect us, no matter what we might think about the wisdom of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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