It is estimated that 9 million people in Afghanistan – 1.3 million of them internally displaced – are in need of emergency aid. The situation is especially critical for several hundred thousand Afghan refugees who have returned from Pakistan to south-eastern Afghanistan since this summer.

‘The refugee situation is a strain on the authorities of Afghanistan and on international aid agencies. Norway is now responding to appeals by the UN and the International Organization for Migration. We are cooperating with partners that can effectively provide urgently needed emergency relief, including shelter, medicines, food and water, and sanitary facilities,’ said Mr Brende.

Norway is channelling its humanitarian support through the Norwegian Refugee Council, the UN and IOM, which have long-standing experience in assisting internally displaced people and returning refugees.

Many of those in need of help have been in Pakistan for decades and are facing a number of challenges – such as reclaiming their homes and land. Many also need legal aid to make a new start in Afghanistan.

‘Several thousand refugees are returning from Pakistan every day. Norway supports the efforts to provide humanitarian protection and assistance to people, who are in a vulnerable situation,’ Mr Brende said.

Norway has provided a total of NOK 240 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in 2016.