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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Norway to re-assess its role in Afghanistan

After lots of criticism over the lack of a public evaluation of Norwegian military and civilian operations in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide now promises to provide one. It comes after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, and under orders from Parliament.

The last evaluation of Norway’s role in the war-torn country covered the years from 2001, when Norway joined an international effort to fight the Taliban and improve social conditions, until 2014. It was highly critical, and there were major problems over the next seven years as well, climaxing in the return of the Taliban and the dramatic evacuation of western nations.

More criticism arose last month, after newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) had reported on the chaos of the evacuation, which resulted in dozens of Afghan children being airlifted out of the country without their parents. Complaints also rose that Norway’s foreign ministry had conducted an internal evaluation but wasn’t making it public.

Now the Parliament has demanded a new and public evaluation of Norway’s operations in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2021 “so that Norwegian authorities can learn from their involvement in the country.” DN reported that it’s highly unusual for the Parliament to issue such an instruction to the ministry, and Eide responded that it will be followed up. He noted that the minstry has had many other tasks of late, “but we will just have to do this, and it’s the right thing to do.” staff




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