Finnish peacekeeper accidentally wounded on base in Afghanistan
Commander of Finnish ISAF troops changed on Monday
A Finnish solder serving as a peacekeeper in Afghanistan was wounded from an accidental shot in the leg on Tuesday.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Mikael Feldt, who assumed the role of the commander of the Finnish ISAF troops on Monday, the accident took place in the Aybak base when the troops were preparing to leave for the shooting range.
“Before leaving the base the weapons are always loaded and put at safety. The accident occurred inside the base, but at this point we are unable to provide additional information as to what exactly happened”, Feldt explained over the telephone from Mazar-i-Sharif.
The victim has been operated on. His condition is not life-threatening.
In connection with the change of command, the number of Finnish troops in Afghanistan grew from 145 to 180.
According to Feldt the increased number of soldiers is reflected in improved safety in the area.
“Naturally it is riskier to attack against a larger group”, said Feldt.
With the additions to the strength of the Finnish military presence, also the structure of the troops underwent some changes. Mobile observation groups were replaced by a Jaeger motorised infantry unit.
The work of the Finnish peacekeepers in Afghanistan is feared to become more dangerous as time draws nearer to the autumn’s Parliamentary elections.
“In the Afghanistan scale, the north is still more peaceful than the south, but this is by no means a tranquil area. All kinds of things happen at regular intervals”, Feldt noted.
In connection with the unrest during the Presidential election of last autumn, the Finnish troops were regularly fired on by rebel forces.
According to the British news agency Reuters, so far the Islamist Taliban rebels have presented no threats related to the upcoming election.
The Taliban are suspected of having killed three Parliamentary candidates, however.
According to Feldt, the peacekeeping forces have prepared for the insurgents once again trying to interfere with the carrying out of the election.
The Finns will take part in the monitoring of the safety situation during the election.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Häkämies: Additional forces to Afghanistan only for election (12.6.2009)
Parliament approves additional forces to Afghanistan (9.3.2009)
Finnish forces take fire again in Afghanistan (5.8.2009)
Finnish peacekeepers engaged in yet another exchange of fire in Afghanistan (31.7.2009)
Finland to send more troops to Afghanistan next summer (12.12.2008)
Finnish Jaeger (Wikipedia)