Contingents from the Naval Ranger Command and the Norwegian Army's Ranger Command have previously taken part in Operation Enduring Freedom together with special forces units from a number of other nations. These personnel have undergone special training in a range of military skills. Their previous mission ended in late June last year at which time Norwegian special forces had been operating in Afghanistan for about six months.
"The special forces and the other Norwegian units contributed to Operation Enduring and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) have played, and are continuing to play, an important part in the stabilisation of Afghanistan. In the ongoing and demanding task of reconstruction in the wake of many years of war and repressive regimes, an adequate level of security is an essential prerequisite for a positive outcome, a point that the Afghan President himself has stressed to me. For Norway's part, our wish is to contribute in the areas of both security and humanitarian assistance in order to help Afghanistan to realise a better future," says the Defence minister, Kristin Krohn Devold.
Norway is currently engaged in two operations in and around Afghanistan. One involves participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) principally responsible for stabilising the situation in and around the Afghan capital Kabul. Norway will continue to participate in ISAF. The other is US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, the main aim of which is to combat the al-Qa'eda terror network. The Norwegian special forces will be in place in Afghanistan at about the same time as the F-16 combat aircraft contributed by the Norwegian Air Force complete their mission. The six F-16s and their support personnel will be returning to Norway as planned at the beginning of April.