Six years after the first Danish troops set foot in Iraq as part of the coalition force known as Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the last soldiers have finally returned home. Although the majority of Danish troops were pulled out in 2007, six dedicated officers remained with the international force until the end of December.
The UN Mandate for this force expired at the end of 2008, and the new Iraqi government did not request the Danes to remain in Iraq, according to the Copenhagen Post. Several of the Iraq veterans were disappointed that the final withdrawal received virtually no domestic press coverage. Even the traditional New Year’s greeting given by Denmark’s head of the armed forced failed to mention the efforts of the Iraq veterans.
Nils Ole Markussen, a spokesman for the Defence Command, told the Copenhagen Post that the withdrawal was not considered much of a priority. “We felt that our big withdrawal at the end of 2007 marked our departure. Afterwards we were only participating at a staff level, with the exception of the security detail at the embassy,” he commented.