Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) does not feel that taking responsibility for an entire province in Afghanistan would be an easy decision for Finland to make.
“It needs to be analysed very carefully. If we take responsibility for an entire province, we need to know what kinds of resources it would require. The provinces cover a relatively large surface area”, Vanhanen said on Wednesday, answering a journalist’s question.
There have been reports that Sweden would ask Finland to let its crisis management forces take responsibility for keeping order in one province.
Finland currently has 120 soldiers in Afghanistan. Finland and Sweden have a common military unit in the country.
Vanhanen has studied assessments and analyses of changes in the Afghanistan operation.
“The problem is that the genuine bearing of responsibility for an entire province would require additional forces”, he said.
Finland has repeatedly been asked to deploy more soldiers in the crisis management forces in Afghanistan.
President Tarja Halonen and the government’s committee on foreign and security policy met on Wednesday. One of the items discussed at the meeting was an assessment of Finland’s participation in crisis management. No decisions were made, however.
Finland plans to respond to requests for more forces by the end of January, when a big Afghanistan meeting is to be held in London.