Erna Solberg on Afghanistan
“Neighboring countries must take more responsibility”
Johan Falnes & Marie De Rosa
Prime Minister Erna Solberg believes the Taliban should have been given a role in the politcial landscape much earlier in Afghanistan. Now she believes the neighboring countries must take more responsibility for further development.
In an interview with NTB, the Prime Minister insisted, however, that it was worthwhile to enter Afghanistan.
“But we just have to be completely honest that we have not succeeded in stabiliziing things the way we should have. We have not succeeded in creating fertile ground for an Afghanistan in which the various parties can approach each other.”
In retrospect, Solberg believes that the dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government should have started earlier. “Western countries should recognize that the Taliban must be given a role,” she said
Pointing to neighboring countries
Solberg is now calling for a more constructive role on the part of neighboring countries.
“The neighboring countries have used Afghanistan to guard against conflicts. This has contributed to the challenges. Now they must take more responsibility for future developments.”
The Prime Minister adds that in the discussions within NATO, she has emphasized the need for an end date and an exit strategy for the engagement in Afghanistan.
She thinks many Afghans now feel abandoned.
“Large parts of the Afghan population probably do not experience this as a liberation,” Solberg said.
At the same time, the Prime Minister made it clear that in the futures, Norwegian aid to Afghanistan will come with conditions.
She believes this could help put pressure on the Taliban, and among other things, to ensure that girls get an education.
“We have said that we will stand by Afghanistan and help. But that presupposes that there is actually a system there that we are able to support,” said Solberg.
“We will not spend Norwegian taxpayers’ money on a system that oppresses children and young people and that does not allow girls to go to school.”
Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall