Wikileaks: Icelandic “Jeep Gangs” Missed in Afghanistan Skip to content

Wikileaks: Icelandic “Jeep Gangs” Missed in Afghanistan

wikileaks-logoThe US Embassy in Kabul sent a long memo to the White House, CIA and senior US military officers, which has now been leaked by Wikileaks, in December 2006 trying to prevent the retreat of the Icelandic “jeep gangs” from Afghanistan.

In October 2006, one month after the US military formally closed its base in Iceland, the then Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir decided to move the two five-person groups that had been working on behalf of the paramilitary Icelandic Crisis Response Unit in Afghanistan back to Iceland in February 2007, Fréttabladid reports.

At the same time it was announced that the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit would henceforth attend to civic duties and a nurse and a midwife were sent to Afghanistan instead of the “jeep gangs”. The decision enjoyed much support in Iceland, across all political parties.

The members of the Crisis Response Unit carried weapons for their protection and many people thought that the difference between them and regular soldiers was unclear.

However, the decision caused concern in the US Embassy in Kabul as it was believed to have “serious consequences” for the troops stationed in the Ghor region. The US Foreign Service was encouraged to pressure the Icelandic government into reconsidering their decision.

“Because of their combination, specialized equipment and extensive experience in off-road driving in circumstances such as the ones that can be found in the Ghor region, the Icelandic patrol units have delivered significant results,” the memo reads.

“Because of the unit’s reliability, its efforts to share its skills with other units and its unique ability for rescue operations, the job of the Chagcharan restoration unit is much more efficient than it would otherwise have been,” it continues.

The memo also states that the members of the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit were disappointed because their efforts lacked support from the Icelandic government and public.

Click here to read more about Wikileaks.

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