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Scathing Report Blasts Finland’s Role in Afghanistan

By Igor Kuznetsov – Samizdat – 20.12.2022

The decades-long Afghanistan intervention, in which Finland played an active role, ultimately fueled large-scale corruption and resulted in the death of thousands of civilians, an august research institute established by the Finnish parliament has concluded in a gloomy assessment of the US’ longest war.

Finland’s involvement in Afghanistan has been slammed by a new scalding report by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, a body largely funded by the parliament.

Not only was the Finnish role in the US-led intervention motivated by geopolitics rather than goodwill, it also had a limited efficacy because of a lack of long-term strategy, the report found.

Although Finnish involvement in Afghanistan was largely portrayed as a humanitarian act by politicians and media, in actual fact the Nordic country’s main interest was to strengthen its relationship with the US and NATO, as well as solidifying its decision-making clout within the UN, the report said.

“Finland’s actions in Afghanistan were guided primarily by the desire to maintain and deepen its international foreign and security policy partnerships. The aims related to Afghanistan’s development and the strategic monitoring of their attainment remained secondary concerns, and Finland’s actual efforts were not based on a comprehensive approach or a realistic analysis of the situation”, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs wrote.

As regards Afghanistan and its development, the objectives of the various activities remained “vague, unrealistic and unclear, and received insufficient attention”, the report said. Instead of critical analysis and strategic monitoring, attempts were made to meet the stated objectives, however vague, by highlighting the progress made and keeping silent about the combats and difficulties, it added.

At the same time, the report stressed that the intervention, in which Finland played an active role, ultimately led to large-scale corruption and resulted in the unnecessary death of thousands of civilians.

Some 2,500 Finnish soldiers and 140 crisis management experts served in Afghanistan with the total price tag of around 700 million euros (about $740 million).

Finland’s involvement in NATO’s Afghanistan mission was seen as an early sign that the Nordic nation was slowly drifting towards the alliance and attempting to bolster its partner status. Earlier this year, Finland and its western neighbor Sweden both abandoned their historic military non-alignment and rushed to become members of NATO, citing Russia’s special operation in Ukraine and the ensuing “security situation” as a pretext.

The Costs of War project by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs estimated the total cost of the US involvement in Afghanistan since 2001 as part of the post 9/11 wars at $2.3 trillion, with funds spent on lifetime care of US veterans and future interest payments on money borrowed not included. The same project also estimated that at least 243,000 people have died as a direct result of this war.

In its aftermath, after the hasty retreat of the coalition forces, the Taliban surged back to power in 2021, two decades after US-led forces embarked on their longest war in history.

December 20, 2022 - Posted by | Militarism | , ,

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