Glorious Norwegian Double Standards: Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan routinely mowed down unarmed civilians

Hot off the press, shocking book revealing the dubious morale and ethics among combatting Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan. Where is the UNSC, the UNGA and the UNHRC to rebuke and condemn Norway for killing civilians? Isn’t this what Israel bashers like to call war crimes? Crimes against humanity?

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We killed people who were unable to defend themselves

Norwegian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan react to how they practically engaged in killing raids in Northern Afghanistan. In a new book they relate about excessive Norwegian use of force.

We killed people who were unable to defend themselves. They did not know we were there. It felt unfair and morally wrong.

This is what Lieutenant Colonel Rune Wenneberg says in the book “On behalf of us, use of force in Afghanistan, which is being released on Aschehoug today.

The author, the Christian democrat politician Malin Stensønes, tells VG that she has wanted to  talk about the war in Afghanistan , seen from the soldiers’ point of view.

They tell their stories about extreme experiences which very few have known about. The stories expose the great distance between the political rhetoric and how the soldiers who participated in the operations actually experienced it Stensønes told VG.

No follow up 

She says the soldiers have complied with the orders they have been given. and it is this experience they share in the book.

But many of them question the usefulness of what they have done. They resolve their tasks, but have not necessarily promoted actual development in Afghanistan. The soldiers say they often miss any meaningful follow up on the humanitarian and civilian aspects, the author says.

“It seems as if the goal of some missions is to travel out to some areas where you get shot at, shoot back, kill some rebels and then withdraw.”

This is the story the Soldier Tor shares in the book. He belongs to the Army’s intelligence batallion, is 35 years old and has been deployed in Afghanistan 3 times.

He points out that the ISAF forces deployed in Afghanistan, which the Norwegian soldiers are a part of, enjoy the best miliray vehicles in the world, and the best military equipment in the world, while the Afghan rebels have an AK 47 – an old Russian automatic rifle – and maybe 3 weeks training.

“Sometimes we get a slap on our cheek, and respond with crushing them under a sledge hammer, the soldier says in the book.  
Lieutenant Colonel  Rune Wenneberg from the Telemark battalion who rose to fame over nationwide after articles in the men’s magazine Alfa, as the man behind the warrior culture in the Army.  

Many from the Telemark battalion

3500 of the 8000 Norwegian soldiers who have served in Afghanistan throughout the 10 year long Norwegian contribution, come from the Telemark Battalion.

Wenneberg explains how his troops discovered a group of armed rebels at the outskirts of a village, obviously ready for to engage in battle. The Norwegian soldiers were 3.5 km away. But two shots from the Norwegian CV90 vehicle quickly eliminated the rebels:

“The obvious dilemma for us was whether we should take them out immediately, or wait  until they had prepared some ambush further ahead”  Rune Wenneberg relates in the book.

“We chose to take them out. Obviously, we were legally entitled to do so and it was tactically the smart thing to do. In many ways this is the text book example of how we wish to engage in combat; without and danger to ourselves and in such a way that we take full advantage of our strengths and in a situation where our opponent’s capacity is irrelevant.

In 2010 the Telemark soldiers told the men’s magazine Alfa that to engage in combat is better than sex. These revelations triggered harsh reactions form the Army’s top echelon, but none of the soldiers or officers were censured for it.

A need for an enquiry
At the same time Wenneberg admits that he took the decision to kill these rebels, but that it was difficult.

-The Government rejects the notion that Norway has been involved in a war in Afghanistan, but is there a need for a public enquiry of the mission now that these stories become known? 
– The soldiers are naturally using the expression war, and they maintain that they have operated within the Laws of War. But it might be of interest to go through the experience and draw the necessary conclusion for future instances when we have to resort to military force, Malin Stensønes says.

The minister of defense does not wish to comment. 
The Minister of Defense Anne-Grethe Strøm-Erichsen (Labour) is unwilling to comment on the content of the book.  She will be present during the book launch and will be able to comment only afterwards, spokesperson Lars Gjemble from the Ministry of Defense says.
The Chief of the Armed Forces is also unwilling to comment on the book before it has been launched, but the Armed Forces’ spokesperson Major Christian Øverli, adds:

– Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan have assisted in resolving risky operations on behalf of ISAF, which sometimes can require the use of force. It is important that our soldiers reflect on ethical dilemmas and use of force related to the operations they have participated in.

– Norwegian soldiers are among the best equipped in the world, and this gives them many advantages on the battlefield, but is also necessary to give them better protection. It is also important that this equipment is used within the framework of the Laws of War and rules of engagement for each individual operation. Our experience is that Norwegian soldiers are very disciplined in relation to this. Beyond this, it is difficult to comment on individual episodes which have been related in a book which still is not on the market.