COPENHAGEN: A Danish paperwork mix-up was behind the Uzbek decision to suddenly revoke overflight rights for a troop carrier this week, leaving 100 Danish soldiers stuck in Kabul, the military said Saturday.
Part of the 750-strong Danish force deployed in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, around 100 troops had been scheduled to fly home Thursday for a nearly three-week holiday.
But the logistics company tasked by the military with getting them home mistakenly applied for overflight rights for a cargo or civilian flight, according to Michael Langeberg, spokesman,Danish military’s Tactical Air Command.
When Uzbek officials realised the Primera Air flight from Kabul was to be carrying soldiers, they revoked its overflight rights and demanded necessary requests.
“That was just 36 hours before the flight was supposed to take off (on Thursday),” Langeberg told AFP, adding “It was too late. Usually in these cases it takes at least 10 days for diplomacy to do its thing.” Danish media on Saturday suggested that the debacle might be the Danish government and military’s fault, since they should have known troop transports over Uzbekistan require special permits.
Langeberg however claimed the blame lay with the DSV global logistics company. Twenty-nine Danish soldiers have been killed since international forces deployed in Afghanistan in late 2001.