Press Statement on Afghanistan

Joint press statement on Afghanistan by Security Council penholders Norway and Estonia, 16 August 2021.

Norway and Estonia have called for another urgent meeting by the UN Security Council, to discuss the swiftly changing situation in Afghanistan.

Our main concern, is the security and well-being of the people.

Right now, thousands of Afghan civilians - young and old - are once again leaving their homes in fear of their lives - and future. The country and its population are now facing a multi-layered crisis of very significant proportion

We call for:

  • an immediate end to the violence in Afghanistan
  • the restoration of security and civil order
  • urgent talks to resolve the current crisis of authority and to arrive at a peaceful settlement.

The reality the international community now must contend with is that the Taliban movement exercises de facto control over much of Afghan territory. The Taliban will be judged not by their words, but by their actions in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

How the Taliban conduct themselves in actual deed will matter a great deal in terms of whether, and how, the international community will be willing and able to relate to, co-operate with, and support a future, new Afghan government in which the Taliban participates.

We must hold the Taliban responsible for upholding international humanitarian law and to respect without fail the human rights of every Afghan child, woman, and man. The Taliban must know that based on past experience, we are – for good reasons – particularly concerned about the situation for women and girls, human rights defenders, media workers, and civil society representatives. Estonia and Norway share the concern for the situation for women and girls, human rights defenders, media workers and civil society representatives.  

Restoring law and order in Kabul must have the utmost priority. There have been disturbing reports of looting and chaos. The current situation at and around Kabul international airport is also unclear and deeply worrying. We call on all parties to ensure that all Afghan and foreign nationals who wish to leave the country by air or land can do so in a safe and orderly way.

On behalf of the penholders, let me also assure you that we will continue our longstanding commitment and engagement with Afghanistan.

We will continue our support to the UN and humanitarian actors and their incredibly important mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Afghan people across the country.

The people of Afghanistan need our full attention and support in the difficult time that lies ahead.


- Delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway, Odd-Inge Kvalheim