Afghan mission necessary, says Gade

A Danish soldier's near fatal shooting in Afghanistan on Wednesday underscores the need for Denmark's mission, says the minister of defence, Søren Gade

Enemy fire seriously injured a Danish soldier based in Musa Qala in Afghanistan early Wednesday morning.

The soldier was evacuated to hospital in Kandahar, where his condition was stablised, according to Lt. Col. Hans Vedholm of Defence Command Denmark. The soldier was expected to be airlifted to a military base in Germany at a later point.

The attack on Danish forces did not come as a surprise to the minister of defence, Søren Gade.

'The security situation is extremely poor in southern Afghanistan and we knew that before we went there,' said Gade to the national public broadcaster DR's evening news.

The majority of Danish troops are stationed in the Helmand province, just north of the city of Lashkar Gah. Denmark currently has 360 troops stationed in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force's Regional Command (South) which includes an international force comprised of Canadian, British and Dutch troops.

Although attacks on Danish positions have become daily fare since additional forces were deployed on 26 July, Denmark's presence in the war-torn country was necessary, however, reiterated Gade.

'Only that way can we make sure that Afghanistan does not become a sanctuary for training terrorists, terrorists who can strike us at home.'

A total of 1700 people have been killed in armed conflict in Afghanistan this year.

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