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News in English

Public support grows for Afghanistan war

A new Rambøll survey indicates that nearly half of Danes support the country's participation in the current Afghanistan military operation.

Despite 10 soldiers having been killed in the past seven months during the campaign, public support has grown from 43 percent in January to 48 percent today. The poll also found a corresponding 5 percent fall in those wishing a total withdrawal of troops from the Asian country.

Søren Gade, the defence minister, was pleased by the figures and said it meant a lot to the soldiers in Afghanistan.

'I think the increased support may have to do with the prominence of the debate in connection with the upcoming Nato summit,' said Gade.

Afghanistan expert Peter Dahl Thulesen of the Defence Academy said he believes the boost in support for the campaign is directly linked to Danes' security concerns at home.

'And politicians have become better at explaining why we're over there. It's also important that there is a broad political backing to the effort,' said Thulesen.

The Socialist People's Party (SF) and the Red-Green Alliance were the only two parties in parliament against the original decision to send troops to Afghanistan.

SF's defence spokesperson Holger Nielsen said the poll results showed that people 'still believe we should be in Afghanistan despite the death toll', but added there was a time limit before they would begin to question whether the campaign was worth the effort. (RC)

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