Norway spent billions of kroner on efforts in Afghanistan. What was the effect?

Kabul airportPhoto: Verified UGC via AP

On the one hand, ten Norwegian soldiers were killed, and billions of kroner were spent on state-building efforts and war. On the other, thousands of women received an education, and many received clean water. The final overview of Norway’s 20 years in Afghanistan is mixed.

For 20 years, from December 2001, Norway had a military presence in Afghanistan. In one moment, there were 600 Norwegian soldiers in the county. There is still a Norwegian field hospital at the airport in Kabul, one of the few places where western forces are still present in the country.

Until 2014, the contribution was part of the international force Isaf. All branches of the Armed Forces participated. At times, Norway had F-16 fighter jets and helicopters deployed in the country.

In the beginning, Norway contributed most to the south of Afghanistan. Gradually, the center of the operation moved north – first from Kandahar to Kabul, from there to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif and the Faryab province. Norway was responsible for a so-called Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) for Faryab from 2005.

In recent years, the most important Norwegian contribution has been the training of special police forces and staff officers and the aforementioned field hospital.

The darkest day

According to the Armed Forces figures, a total of 9,200 Norwegian soldiers have served in Afghanistan. Ten of them were killed during the operation, and many more have to struggle with physical and mental ailments for the rest of their lives.

The darkest day for Norway in Afghanistan was June 27, 2010. Four Norwegian soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Another dark day was when Lieutenant Colonel Siri Skare was killed by angry protesters who stormed the UN office in Mazar-e-Sharif on April 1, 2011.

Norwegian civilians have also died. Doctor Egil Kristian Tynæs was on assignment for MSF. Along with four other aid workers from the organization, he was killed in Badghis province in 2004. Four years later, Dagbladet journalist Carsten Thomassen was killed during a terrorist attack on a hotel in Kabul. He was part of the press entourage of the then Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP), who was also in great danger.

Billions of kroner

Figures from Norad show that Norway has contributed NOK 12.3 billion in civilian assistance to the country. In connection with the report from the Godal committee on what Norway had achieved, it emerged in 2016 that the military effort had cost NOK 11.5 billion. It is not known how much costs have been incurred since that time.

As the conflict draws to a close, many ask the question of what the West has achieved in the country.

“I’m more pragmatic. I worked in Afghanistan before 2001. You can look at how many people have received education and university education. The health service has also been strengthened,” head of research Arne Strand at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen stated.

Figures from the UN also show a number of bright spots. Life expectancy in Afghanistan has increased from 56 to 64 years. Child mortality has more than halved, the number of people who can read and write has increased. 89% of the inhabitants of Afghan cities have access to clean water, compared with 16% before 2001.

There are also 17% fewer child marriages, and almost twice as many girls start school as before the war.

Position of women

In addition, Strand says women have been included in village projects that have contributed to the villagers having the opportunity to improve their situation.

“We are left with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young people who are in a completely different situation today than they were in 2001. They can help run a state and also make demands on the Taliban,” Strand said.

Afghanistan veteran Frode Larsen also praised the efforts the West made, especially for the women in the country.

“Has it all been a waste? From a geopolitical perspective, you just have to realize that it has. But then I remember all the times I saw happy Afghan girls on their way to or from school, and all the tough women who I believe are the future of Afghanistan,” he wrote in a Facebook post that has been published in the newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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2 Comments on "Norway spent billions of kroner on efforts in Afghanistan. What was the effect?"

  1. Norway’s best effect for the Afghan people will be the clean water and improved medical practices, if the Taliban will tolerate the continuance of those. Anyone showing themselves influenced by Western liberal thinking … ergo blaspheming the Koran … will likely be erased along with all Norway’s and other Western governments’ similar efforts.

    The effect on Norway should be infinitely greater.

    First, Norway should learn from this not to blindly follow the U.S. and UK, in NATO and otherwise. (I’ll never forget then-DefMin Ine Søreide giddily saying “all for one and one for all” at the 2014 Military Power conference 6 months after our Kiev coup which re-started our nuclear Russian Roulette … with Russians … infinitely more dangerous every day now than at any time in the previous Cold War.)

    That is, our War On Terror (WOT) was a lie from the too-suspicious 9/11 get-go and should have been openly and critically questioned by our friends (like Norway) as friends should do.

    And what better use in Norway could that 12B NoK have been put to? Free or at least greatly subsidized housing for young couples to start families and comfortably/spaciously produce the more little Norwegians so badly needed, for just one example?

    So the now euphoric tribesmen have won and a few of them probably think they are now ready to go and lead Islamic world conquest … and meet their own Waterloo.
    In his fast-talking interview yesterday, former U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claims Afghanistan will again become the capital of international terrorism it never was, and we’ll have to go back in. (Not likely, H.R. The American People have had it with your evil and grievously costly neocon foolishness.)

    And American neocons are screaming generally. Fred Kagan – former West Point history faculty member to brainwash cadets – has written an article attacking President Joe Biden (who probably made certain his re-election getting us out of The Graveyard of Empires). They realize the questioning blowback like this very Norway Today article may sweep them into the dustbin of American political history and could severely cripple the ethnocentric Israel lobby in general.

    Are we going to pull out of Syria next, as the American People also want?

    Critics have claimed this cripples America’s deterrent credibility, regarding Taiwan or the Baltics. Umm … no. The longer we stayed in Afghanistan senselessly wasting the lives of our young and best and $Bs, the weaker we became and the more easily deluded/weak-minded we looked to be. Us staying in there only demonstrated the neocons’ and their media’s control over us. (Washington Post and New York are absolutely apoplectic.)

    We the American People will fully honor our defensive alliances and commitments … as long as they remain legitimately defensive.

    U.S. Gen. James Mattis has a new podcast out “Reality is a terrible adversary,” and we are finally facing it in/with Afghansitan.

    The tribesmen could not – refused to – be conquered by Western liberal education and values. Afghanistan was successfully pacified – for an entire century – only by the Mongols, using their trademark exterminatory methods. The Chinese appear ready to move into the power vacuum as we leave, and if the Taliban think they can win against them, the result will be interesting to watch.

  2. Washington Post and New York Times …

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