PBS Premiere: Aug. 30, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

In Context

In early 2011, Denmark's government agreed on a new two-year plan ("The Helmand Plan") that increases financial assistance to Afghanistan while easing out its 750 troops deployed there by 2014.

Afghanistan is the recipient of the second largest amount of Danish development assistance. Between 2002 and 2007, Denmark provided more than 1 billion Danish krones (approximately 150 million U.S. dollars) to Afghanistan, and it has greatly increased its contributions since. A total of 750 Danish soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan; 39 have lost their lives there since the war began.

In February 2011, Denmark's government agreed on a new two-year plan for its involvement that would increase its development assistance in Afghanistan to 500 million Danish krones (92.6 million U.S. dollars) annually. The new agreement (called the Helmand Plan, after the Afghan province where most Danish soldiers are stationed) is between Denmark's ruling coalition and opposition parties and focuses on security improvements and civilian and political development. It also provides for the handover of security responsibilities to the Afghan people in 2011. The plan is to be fully implemented by 2014. Over the course of the handover, Denmark will slowly pull out troops and increase training for Afghan police and other security personnel. After the handover, Denmark will continue to provide support in the form of development assistance.

Danish and British troops in Afghanistan are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a coalition deployed under the authority of the U.N. Security Council in response to a call for support from the United States. ISAF currently has 132,000 troops in Afghanistan drawn from 28 NATO nations and 18 non-NATO nations. The ISAF makes up the majority of international troops in Afghanistan.

Photo Caption: A scene from Armadillo  
Credit: Lars Skree

» Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense. "The Danish Helmand Plan."
» Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense. "Political Agreement on the Danish Engagement in Afghanistan: The Danish Helmand Plan 2011-2012."
» "Denmark Announces New Aid Program for Afghanistan." Xinhua, Feb. 24, 2011.
» Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. "Danish Participation in International Operations."
» U.S. Department of State. "Background Note: Denmark"