Tuesday. 26.09.2023

President Niinistö gives green light to military deployment in Kabul

For the first time in recent history, Finnish troops will be deployed abroad by government mandate, without being part of an international stabilization force
18 August 2021, Afghanistan, Kabul: US Marines check civilians at an Evacuee Control Checkpoint during the evacuation process at Hamid Karzai International Airport. Photo: Ssgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marin/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
US Marines check civilians at an evacuee control checkpoint at Hamid Karzai International Airport. Photo: Victor Mancilla/US Marin/dpa.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö gave the green light on Friday to send Finnish troops to the airport in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, to assist in the evacuation of Finnish citizens and employees of the troops and diplomats remaining in the Central Asian country.

The decision was preceded by deliberations on a report on the matter in the plenary session of Parliament. MPs suspended their summer break to approve the operation.

According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a Defense Forces unit will travel to Afghanistan to be deployed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Their mission will be to safeguard the evacuation operation of the Finnish relief team.

At the moment, little is known about the composition of this immediate response force. It has only been revealed by official sources that it will be made up of "dozens" of troops.

"The unit is ready ready for deployment as soon as the decision is finalised," says the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

"Historic" response

This is the first time in recent history that Finnish troops have been sent by the government to operate in a foreign country without being under the umbrella of a multinational crisis management operation.

For this reason, Finnish politicians and local media describe as "historic" the response given by the Nordic nation to the crisis situation that has followed the fall of Kabul.

"The unit assigned to the task has the highest level of performance in Finland thanks to its extensive training and crisis management experience. During the operation, the unit will operate under the national leadership of Finland," adds the Ministry.

The troops will operate only at Kabul International Airport and in its immediate vicinity.

The chaotic situation beyond the airport, with the Taliban checkpoints and masses of people trying to flee, advises against venturing further afield.

President Niinistö gives green light to military deployment in Kabul