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Espen Schiager, 2008-01-18

Weeks 1-3: Drama in Kabul

A medical unit from the Norwegian National Support Element evacuated the two Norwegian civilians that were injured in a terrorist attack in Kabul this week. One journalist died.

DISPATCHED: A Norwegian medics unit was sent to the hotel after the attack. This is an archive photo. (Photo by Torgeir Haugaard)

On Monday the 14 January, Hotel Serena in Kabul was attacked by extremists with bombs and machine guns. The Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre, members of his department and a group of journalists and photographers stayed there.

A Norwegian team of soldiers and medics were sent from their base at Kabul International Airport straight to the hotel. Both a Norwegian member of the foreign ministry and a Norwegian journalist were brought back to the airport with shot wounds.

The journalist, Carsten Thomassen, suffered such injuries that his life could not be saved.

Staying home
The Norwegian force of engineers and soldiers preparing and training for their mission in Darfur was informed by the minister of defence last week that they are not going after all.

The reason for the cancellation of the mission is the refusal of Sudan’s government to allow soldiers of Western countries into their land.

F-5 Freedom Fighter for sale
The Norwegian Defence are selling 15 well used F-5 Freedom Fighter aircraft to a pilot school in Texas for nearly 560 million US dollars.

SOLD: The last Norwegian F-5 aircraft will now be used for pilot training in the US. (Photo by Arne Flaaten)

The planes are built in the period from 1964 – 1969, and they were used by the Norwegian Air Force from 1967 – 1990. Despite the age, they are in a good condition.

Baltic mission
The four Norwegian F-16s have now taken over responsibility for guarding the air space over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They will stay there until 15 March 2008.

In addition to their stand-by service in case of intruders into the Baltic air space, the Norwegians are also training their Lithuanian counterparts in air surveillance. The crew is based at Siauliai in Lithuania.


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