Switzerland pulls soldiers out of Afghanistan


This video is called Afghan Woman Loses 8 Family Members.

From swissinfo in Switzerland:

Swiss pull military staff out of Afghanistan

Switzerland is ending four years’ cooperation with the Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan by recalling its military personnel.

Defence Ministry Samuel Schmid said he had taken the decision for security reasons. Two army officers, currently working with a German team in the northeastern Kunduz province, will return home by March next year.

The Isaf mission had become a peace enforcement operation rather than a peacekeeping duty, Schmid said. …

A continued Swiss military presence in Afghanistan – although “rather symbolic” – was impossible because it goes against the spirit of the constitution and is not in line with the law, according to Schmid.

The decision comes a few weeks after a meeting of Nato defence ministers to boost efforts to provide security in Afghanistan.

Switzerland, which is not a member of Nato but joined its Partnership for Peace programme, has participated in Isaf since 2003. Parliament approved the deployment of a contingent of four officers on the basis of a United Nations resolution.

“No-go areas”

However the nature of Isaf’s engagement has changed since 2005. But its mission has progressively turned into a campaign against insurgents, the defence ministry said. …

In areas of the country where the Taliban have regained strength, reconstruction work has become practically impossible, the Swiss authorities said.

The local population is bearing the brunt of the worsening security situation in Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned in September that civilians faced increasing hardship in Afghanistan as fighting continued to spread across the country.

The Swiss-run organisation said that large parts of the country were close to becoming “no-go areas” for aid workers.

Medical care

Reto Stocker, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Kabul, said the conflict was “clearly spreading and in certain areas is intensifying”.

He said there had been a significant increase in the number of civilian casualties as a result of aerial bombardments and suicide attacks, adding that the conflict was driving more and more people from their homes.

The delivery of basic services such as medical care and education had become “problematic” over wide areas of southern Afghanistan, he added.

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