Finland's presence in Afghanistan motivated by relations with U.S.: researchers-Xinhua

Finland's presence in Afghanistan motivated by relations with U.S.: researchers

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-12-20 01:39:45

HELSINKI, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The underlying aim of Finland's participation in the international stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan in 2001-2021 was to maintain and strengthen relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) said in a report published on Monday.

However, FIIA's research suggests that "Finland's activities in Afghanistan were motivated by multiple objectives that were partly unclear and at times conflicting."

The report was commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Committee of Finland's Parliament. The FIIA works under parliamentary supervision.

Between 2001 and 2021, Finland stationed around 2,500 soldiers and 140 civilian crisis management experts in Afghanistan.

Katariina Mustasilta, chief researcher of the FIIA project, noted in a press release that it is almost impossible to assess the extent to which Finland achieved its objectives in Afghanistan because no clear and transparent goals had been set.

"It is ... difficult to appraise in retrospect how the different forms of participation deepened Finland's relations with the U.S., for example, and whether Finland's activities were cost-efficient in terms of its partnership goals and national capacities because no expectations had been explicitly stated," Mustasilta said.

The FIIA report said that the effort in Finland to disguise the fact that it was motivated by a desire to foster transatlantic relations and partnerships made planning and monitoring of the Finnish involvement difficult.

Commenting on the report, Finnish national radio Yle noted that comparable surveys in Norway and Sweden had given similar results.

The FIIA report was based on 64 interviews with key Finnish decision makers and their colleagues.