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Finnish president calls for easier troop deployments

President Sauli Niinistö says laws should be updated to ease the deployment of Finnish troops to crisis zones.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö Ykkösaamun vieraana 28 elokuuta.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö spoke to Yle's Ykkösaamu talk show on Saturday. Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle
Yle News

Sauli Niinistö on Saturday said Finland was quickly able to make the historical decision to send armed personnel to Afghanistan to support evacuation efforts in Kabul. But according to Niinistö, it’s easier for Finland to deploy troops to assist operations run by other countries than it is to send military personnel to the aid of its own citizens.

Niinistö called for updating laws to prepare for future events requiring the swift deployment of Finnish military. Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto agreed with the idea.

"It's important that Finnish troops can quickly come to the aid of Finnish authorities in situations like evacuations. We don't know what kind of crises the world will see. It's important we're able to protect Finns in these situations," Haavisto told Yle in response to Niinistö's proposal.

Seeds of freedom

Niinistö said Finland learned a lot during its years of crisis management in Afghanistan, but noted that the West failed in its efforts to stabilise the country.

"It became evident that unless enough local people or groups are strongly committed to changing their way of life or society into what we consider to be good, it's not going to work out," the president told Yle.

He also said the "seed of freedom" had been planted in the country over two decades of western presence.

"Undoubtedly a entire generation has experienced a free or somewhat free life—very free at least compared to Taliban rule," he told Yle.

Niinistö also said he wanted an open discussion on problems related to migration, as the Afghanistan crisis is expected to spark an influx of people seeking asylum in Europe.

"Now we have to have the courage to openly, analytically and clearly talk about migration also causing problems," he said.

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