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

In Context

Denmark has a strong interest not just in encouraging peace in Afghanistan, but also in maintaining a strong alliance with the United States.

The United States is Denmark's fifth largest export market and its biggest outside of the European Union, and more than 260 Danish companies have subsidiaries in the United States.

Denmark has shown its support of counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East led by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations and implemented since the attacks on the United States in September 2001. Denmark has also contributed significantly to counterterrorism and peacemaking efforts in Afghanistan.

In March 2011, President Obama met with Danish Prime Minster Lars Løkke Rasmussen at the White House to discuss Afghanistan, the Middle East and energy issues. Obama praised Denmark's assistance in Afghanistan. "Denmark is not a large country, but proportional to its population it has made as significant an effort and made as many sacrifices as anybody in helping to stabilize Afghanistan," he said. "Denmark is a country that, in American terms, punches above its weight."

Løkke Rasmussen said he had recently visited Danish troops in Helmand province and became convinced that more needed to be done to wean the region from its dependence on the narcotics trade. Currently, opium-producing poppies support a significant part of the economy. He said Denmark had increased assistance for alternative crops in Afghanistan. He also reasserted Denmark's long-term commitment to helping the United States in Afghanistan.

According to the U.S. State Department, "The U.S., along with others in the international community, currently provides resources and expertise to Afghanistan in a variety of areas, including humanitarian relief and assistance, capacity-building, security needs, counter-narcotic programs and infrastructure projects."

Photo Caption: A scene from Armadillo  
Credit: Lars Skree

» "Obama Thanks Danish PM for Troops in Afghanistan." Associated Press, March 14, 2011.
» U.S. Department of State. "Background Note: Denmark"