♫ You threw yourself at the
westerners, my dear Shahin … ♫ We find ourselves at the
end of the world in some ways. It’s a long, long way
this poor people have had to go. A people that have been army taken,
raped by armies for almost 200 years. Good morning, Soldiers!
Good morning, Colonel! If we were to withdraw
right now from here – – hastily and unplanned.
This nation would collapse. Chaos and civil war would break out. War for Peace One step forward two steps back At Camp Northern Lights the forces are
replaced every 6 months, FS19 will become FS20. Within a week the new soldiers will be
taking over for security in the Swedish area. As most of us already know in this room,
many of us already met at in May, – – when FS19 took over responsibility. This has been a though period for both the peace
process in Afghanistan and the Swedish contingent. We have been involved in over 70 firefights, IED
attacks and attempts at sabotaging the peace process. We have also seen them getting new abilities. Just last month they used mortars
which we haven’t seen them do before. Important to highlight that they
have not succeeded with their intentions – – and we will keep on with
our operation in this area. We have also been able to continue the
development projects that improve people’s daily life. If I might add the Swedish
government have decided – – to create a separate, parallel
civilian structure to PRT in Mazar-I-Sharif – – a structure that will work parallel
and closely with the military. Our aid efforts will
primarily focus on infrastructure, – – I’m thinking of schools, roads,
water, electricity. I will also mention,
even if it at times isn’t so visible. So have we already done very much. It’s time for FS19’s
infantry company last mission. They are going to patrol and
protect the villagers in Alizayi. I’ll go get the coffee. Return fire, report target
and await the chief’s decision. Remember you can fire first if
you are under threatening circumstances. And the enemy is intending
and trying to injure you. Very much of what we do down here – – is something most people only get
in contact with by watching movies. What soldiers here experience from
when they land on the plane – – to when they run the entire
line of their profession, – – which can include firefights,
include very real combat situations. All that I think is
very hard to understand. Foxtrot Alfa, receive. Copy. Just say hello and check
if there’s anything suspicious. I feel no duty to explain what I have
done here to everyone I meet … and see. It’s … a rather personal experience. There is absolutely a conflict in that. People want to know and
understand what happens here, – – but it’s not always entirely black and white, – – it’s not just you seeing the enemy and
shooting at each other and it ending there, – There can be very complex situations that
demands you being alert for long periods of time. But it’s also very uncomfortable that
most of the fighting have been at night time, – – where you never really
clearly see the enemy. It can be hard to understand what kind
of situation you are in when it happens. Night fighting 23rd July my group was
escorting a logistic transport – – through a wooden area that
stretches from north to south. And the combination of the darkness and trees
made it very hard to see anything beyond the trees. And the Taliban insurgents knew this,
they had taken position beyond the trees. Just as the APC had passed the wooden area, – – our gunner observed about 10 men showing up
in the tree line and opening fire towards us. Fagdevils! Magazine! Contact! Contact! I sat behind to the left with the firing port open
and returned fire with our gunner Jonas. -Are you okay Jonas?
-I can’t see anything! Get down! Unload! -So fucking cowardly! -Good Jonas.
Fucking good work. -Fucking whores. We dismounted. And I saw two
persons 50-60 meters away from me. Then another person came to
the same place, followed by two more. Mange, who is it
coming to the left of you? To the left of you in the field.
Who are they? We quickly pick up that
they were Taliban insurgents. They walked kicking
in the grass looking for us. When I was changing firing position
I slid down in the ditch where we were laying. It was a very steep ditch
… and I couldn’t get up. I see who Magnus is aiming at,
so I aim at the other person. The two at the front fell instantly. I kept firing a bit in case
they got to cover. You never know. Yeah I’m behind you. I slid down. Yeah we go back. There they came out.
Precisely there. You see something white there.
To the left. Here is my magazine and G- No.
Here is GPS and a magazine. -What is the white laying there? There is another one. There lies one dead. -Be on guard now, ensure that
the bastards are really dead. -Haven’t you checked them?
-So he doesn’t wake up and shoot you. Nobody has been up there yet,
so be alert. The feeling in the group afterwards was mixed.
On return we gathered up in a ring around the camp flag. The company chief looked at us. Some tears came and he said:
“Fucking great to see everyone returned”. Yeah. Here I live,
this is my residence. A bit smaller than what I had in
Belgrad or Wien, but I like it here. Cleaning is a problem,
you have to do it yourself. I have actually gotten me a clothing iron,
but haven’t yet unpacked it. I have been sent here by the foreign minister – – together with a group of colleagues to set up
a civilian structure here in northern-Afghanistan. And we are going to take over the management
for all of our presence here next year. We should actually try and
convince the Swedish government – – to grant us some money for us to buy
a carpet for our rather modest office. There we have a portrait of the king
and possibly a carpet we could acquire. Something important we have had to wrestle
for here is civilian military cooperation. When I came here it wasn’t really
planned how this would take place. And I got two strong proud institutions
to deal with, Forsvarsmakten and SIDA. There is no secret the aid organization SIDA never
thought highly of the cooperating with the Military. For the Military I think the problem was not
wanting to let us civilians in on the planning stage. But of course when doing aid in an area you need to
know when military operations are going to take place. The most important thing is
it must be Afghan lead. And of course there is
a certain, irrationality there. There’s always cultural differences. Time perception is very …. the perception
of time here is different from back in Sweden. “You have watches, we have the time”
the Afghans say. This is year 1389 according to
the Afghan time calculation. And yeah … it’s 1389 here sometimes
in our own time calculation as well. One mile outside the city centre is
like going 1000 years back in time. Warlords and village elders from the poor
problem neighborhoods west of Mazar – – have started a Shora, they have put down their
weapons and want to talk about development projects. During the election the polling sites
in their area were closed due to unrest. Now they have nobody who can voice their opinions
to the government or aid organiztaions. My task is to politically monitor what happens
in the four northern provinces in Afghanistan. Understand the process, follow up
and give advice on what happens – – part on the development side, SIDA.
or even also military. If the foreigners had made direct contact
to the civilians from the beginning, – – as done in the development projects. If they had done that in all the projects.
Included the civilians population, – – I’m certain all the problems
would have been solved by now. I can very well talk openly that we have
had problems in this country for 30 years. There is still opposing groups,
inequality and hostility which dominates. If I as foreigner were to only listen to
one government official – – and that government official
belonged to a certain group … Then he probably has his own in mind,
and everyone else is left outside. The general opinion among Afghans
about the international forces is, – – without military presence
there would be civil war. But there is also Afghans who say, – “It doesn’t work, go home.
We will solve it ourselves”. Thanks for now. The infantry company’s
last mission is complete. Now all that remains is to pack
and hand in weapons and ammunition. It’s time for new soldiers to take over. Personally I wasn’t entirely set or prepared for – – that I was going down to fight and
shoot at other people. And get shot at. I don’t think any of us from this company
expected that it would be like it was. If it for the single individual isn’t
a conflict to shoot at another human, – – then there is maybe
something not right. But on the other hand it doesn’t …
have to be on the extreme opposite end. That it should be really, really
high resistance to do it. Especially if someone is trying
to violate my right to live as I see it. One of the most difficult things
in my opinion is returning home. People know so little about the work we do down here.
I have heard everything from: “Aha? So we have soldiers down there?” to “Oh so you
are down there, well it’s just a sunny vacation”. It’s a bit tiresome. Many that have worked hard. It will be good
packing up and leaving everything. Go home. Is the ammunition container up there? Welcome to CNL. I’m the quartermaster at Papa Lima
and responsible for your arrival here. State your number so
we can check you off the list. I have experienced that
soldiers and even officers, – – don’t really know what they are heading to.
Don’t know how often combat occurs. Don’t know how dangerous it is to
move on roads here in Afghanistan. They don’t know how close
it really is here sometimes. I mean the least thing they could do,
for people going to Afghanistan, – – is to give them an
accurate picture of what this is. What you should know about the enemy,
although some of them are not that skilled in combat, – – most of them are very brave. They can take up battle
even if they know things will not go so well for them. Part excitement.
Part breaking from everyday life and work. Want to do something sensible while I’m still young. Got so excited I forgot to count. I want to come out here to learn to know myself better.
Try something new, get a bit away – – get some perspective on things.
This is an adventure. It’s fun. We are going to talk a bit about “Cultural Awareness”,
some cultural understanding for Afghanistan. It’s about how we behave when
we are out meeting the Afghans, – – and how they will perceive us. When you are sitting on the mat drinking tea, –
which one so does on the floor. Don’t sit with your foot soles facing towards
other people. It’s perceived as disrespectful. For the new arrivals six months
of hard work awaits them. Their mission is to create security
in the area so that aid can reach there. Ambassador Krister Bringéus is searching for affiliates
so that the aid work can reach out to the people. It’s a very poorly working society,
with corruption and a weak central government. I believe we need to be very firm
with our projects out in the field. For example setting up walls around girl schools,
if you don’t set up walls girls won’t be allowed to go. Maybe we will do a massive project
with 50 walls in every province. Another thing I believe is important is delivery rooms.
The birth mortality rate here is enormous. I think our strength lies in the
long term commitment, both military and civilian. So what I think it’s about is successively
handing back the country to the Afghans, – – and successively building up
stronger civilian presence. It’s entirely right to make demands.
Some day the Afghans must take larger responsibility. All we can do now is help facilitate
for them succeding the best possible. My biggest worry is … Withdrawing too quickly. That we won’t have the patience
to see it through to the end. Things take time, quite simply. The most important thing is that one goes down
here knowing what we do and what our work is. And that one is 100% in on that. One appreciates what little one has much more. You never know if you are
going to come home. Quite simply. Do you read English in school? -Do you go to girl school?
-Yes Do you go to the
school together? That’s good. One has maybe not always
done the exact right thing. It’s first in the later years that the military have
turned around and started doing the more right things. It’s about mentoring the local
Afghan security forces for example. We also see infrastructure changes,
roads and hospitals popping up. Partly girls being allowed to school,
now there is about six-seven million. These rows of small girls going home
with their far too big backpacks. It’s just absolutely fantastic.
That didn’t exist 10 years ago in Afghanistan. Everybody have a chance to surrender now,
those that don’t will be considered
hostiles when we attack the mast again. -Can you see them?
-All of them are armed. Check with the company chief that
they are really disarmed and searched�