Norway troops AfghanistanAc-1116cording to reports several Norwegina citizens have joined militants groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Norwegina intelligence officials have confirmed the report and said the citizens fought on the side of insurgents and even shot at NATO-led international troops that have included Norwegian soldiers.

Lt Gen Kjell Grandhagen, who heads the military’s intelligence gathering unit (Etterretningstjenesten, also known as E-tjenesten) quoted by Newspaper Aftenposten confirmed that the unit “for several years” has followed the movements of Norwegians “who travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan to take part in armed battle or terror-related training.”

He said there were “very few cases,” but in a few of them, “Norwegians were directly tied to carrying out or attempting armed attacks against Afghan authorities and/or the (NATO-led) ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), where Norwegian soldiers are also involved.”

He did not disclose further information regarding when or where the attacks in Afghanistan were carried out or attempted.

According to the fresh reports obtained by Norwegina authorities an identified Norwegian Islamic man who, as late as a few weeks ago, is said to have participated in an attack targeted at ISAF soldiers in Afghanistan, Aftenposten reported.

Norway has been in the process of withdrawing its troops but around 200 remain and the government is evaluating requests from Afghan authorities that others return.

Norway has maintained around 500 troops on average in Afghanistan, a fraction of those supplied by countries like the US and Great Britain but still relatively large given Norway’s small population and overall military force. Many will remain, but in administrative and command roles, not engaged in active fighting.

The defense ministry’s operative headquarters (Forsvarets operative hovedkvarter, FOH) describes the move as from being active in the field, to a more “strategic” role. The plan will also reduce costs and “wear and tear” on the military at home in Norway.