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Cablegate: Afghanistan: Few Details On Finland's Increases,

VZCZCXRO9840
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHHE #0071/01 0531538
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221538Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5453
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 000071

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/A ANTHONY RUSH AND EUR/RPM AARON COPE
AND RAPHAEL CARLAND

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/03/2020
TAGS: AF FI MARR MASS MOPS PREL
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: FEW DETAILS ON FINLAND'S INCREASES,
PARLIAMENTARY SUPPORT REAFFIRMED

REF: A. STATE 14366
B. HELSINKI 36
C. HELSINKI 21

Classified By: DCM Michael Butler, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: The details and exact duties of Finland's
additional military and civilian personnel promised for
Afghanistan (details reported in reftel B) are not yet
available. MFA Afghanistan Envoy Kalkku responded to
Charge's delivery of reftel A points by reiterating the GOF
plan to fill its six empty EUPOL slots and to double its
embassy in Kabul from three to six diplomats. However,
Kalkku did relate that Finnish OMLT trainers would now be
able to operate below the brigade-level. Parliament received
the government's report on Afghanistan on February 18, which
all parties hewing to their previous positions: the NCP and
Centre strongly supporting increased efforts and the
opposition SDP against sending more soldiers but recognizing
the need to be engaged there. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
FEW DETAILS ON ROLES OF MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. (C) Charge raised reftel A points on February 19 with
Finnish Special Envoy for Afghanistan Elina Kalkku. Kalkku
related that the government's February 18 report to
parliament on proposed increases in troops and trainers had
been well-received. While she did not yet have line-by-line
CJSOR information for the additional Finnish personnel, the
additional half-dozen civilian police would top-up Finland's
EUPOL contingent to 30. Finland's OMLT trainers would also
be allowed to operate down to battalion-level, freeing them
from the present limit of operating at brigade-level. Kalkku
reiterated that the MFA was planning to double the size of
its embassy in Kabul (Note: we understand there are about
three diplomats there now who focus on development. End
Note).

--------------------------------------------- -------
PREDICTABLE REACTION FROM PARLIAMENT TO GOV'T REPORT
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (SBU) FM Stubb and DefMin Hakamies presented the
government's report on Afghanistan at a sparsely-attended
plenary session of parliament (about 20 representatives
present out of 200) on February 18. Stubb emphasized that 36
of 43 ISAF participants were increasing their troop
contributions, and that Finland's increase was a temporary
measure (Note: GOF has not stated how long this "temporary
increase" will last. End Note). According to Stubb,
Afghanistan was becoming the primary focus for Finland's
crisis management efforts with the expected drawdown of its
forces in KFOR. Stubb reiterated Finland's justification for
being involved in Afghanistan (maintaining regional security
and stability, combating drugs and crime, and solidarity with
the international community) and was more specific about what
had been achieved than on previous occasions. He lauded the
increase in school attendance, especially among girls, and
praised the wider provision of health care and the return of
some 5 million Afghan refugees. Continuing challenges of
Taliban violence and corruption in the GIROA needed to be
addressed, but he assessed that the new Afghan cabinet was
good overall and that the people generally supported ISAF and
opposed the Taliban. Hakamies followed Stubb's presentation
with an anecdote about his December 2009 visit to a girls'
school while visiting Finnish troops in Mazar-e-Sharif. He
went on to state that, while six months ago he thought ISAF
"could win", now he thinks "we are winning".

4. (SBU) Representatives of each party followed the
government's report with speeches of their own which largely
tracked their established positions on Afghanistan. The NCP
and Centre Party both emphasized the need for comprehensive
crisis management to protect Finland's interests in peace and
stability and to facilitate reconstruction and development.
Both also underlined that Finland's policy was supported not
just by the government but by the President and the
parliament. Green Party MP Pekka Haavisto emphasized the
lack of a military solution and that Finland was involved to
support the Aghani government, as contrasted with the U.S.,
which had its own, different, motive for involvement as a
result of 9/11. The opposition SDP took the theme of "no
military solution" one step further, arguing that an increase
in troops would not help matters. NCP and Centre
representatives then criticized the SDP for failing to
support the increases in military and civilian personnel
despite the support of President Halonen, formerly of the SDP

HELSINKI 00000071 002 OF 002


but officially nonpartisan due to her office. The opposition
Left Alliance and True Finns lambasted the presence of
Finnish soldiers in Afghanistan, portraying the GOF as a
puppet of the U.S. and NATO. The Left Alliance bizarrely
alleged that the U.S. and NATO wanted Finland to be drawn
into Afghanistan's civil war, while the True Finns accused
the government of playing games with the lives of Finnish
soldiers.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
FIRST REACTION TO DUTCH GOV'T FALLING: NOT LIKELY HERE
--------------------------------------------- ---------

5. (SBU) In the first public reaction to the fall of the
Dutch government over its involvement in Afghanistan, Finance
Minister and NCP Leader Katainen dismissed the idea that this
could happen in Finland, citing the "very broad consensus"
behind such decisions in Finland.
ORECK

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