The Christmas period has seen troops from Norway involved in several battles across northern Afghanistan, with the Maimana Norwegian field hospital admitting injured Afghan fighters as the insurgency continues. The Norway Post reports that despite the skirmishes, no Norwegian troops have been seriously injured.
In the first of the attacks, which took place on 22nd December, a small arms-and-grenade attack on a Norwegian Military Observer Team (MOT) in western Faryab led to NATO being called on to provide assistance from the air. The following day, an MOT patrol vehicle was damaged during a similar attack while two further patrols from the Maimana base camp also were fired upon.
Norwegian training officers, on patrol with an Afghan police and army unit then came under fire on Christmas Eve, west of the Maimana camp with government troops sustaining several injuries. On Christmas Day a mission with drone and helicopter support was deployed to an under siege Afghan border post by Norwegian and Afghan troops with two members of the local border police evacuated.
Earlier this month it was announced that Norwegian forces, which number around 500 in Afghanistan, were involved in fighting every third day on average. The fighting is centred on the Faryab province, where Norway leads the Provincial Reconstruction Team in what is generally considered one of the quieter regions in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
“The frequent clashes are due to the fact that the Afghan military now feel they are making progress. For this reason they more often attack insurgents, and the Norwegians who act as instructors and support, accompany them,” said head of the Norwegian contingent Colonel Kurt Arne Gimre.