Press Statement on Afghanistan

Statement to the press by Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt ahead of a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan/UNAMA, 20 December 2022.

For the past two years, Norway has been penholder on the Security Council’s work on Afghanistan.

This has been a challenging time for the country, as well as globally, and for the Security Council. As Foreign Minister of Norway, I am encouraged by the ability of this Council, even in difficult times to find solutions to a politically challenging situation.

By adopting the resolution on the UN mission, we have provided it with a strong mandate. The main focus of Norway has been to bolstering international support for the Afghan people. 

As we stand here, the Afghan people are facing yet another brutal winter. People are freezing, people are starving. More than two-thirds of the population desperately needs humanitarian assistance.

The situation for women and girls is particularly difficult. On many levels, women have basically been erased from public life.

This is not only a human rights crisis. It is also bad on the economics to exclude half the population.  

This Council has expressed concern over the increasing erosion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls of the Taliban. We must never stop telling the Taliban how equal participation in public life is non-negotiable, along with equal education for all girls and boys. This was our clear message to the Taliban during consultations in Oslo at the beginning of this year.

We believe that it is necessary to talk to those in power, and that it is possible to have this dialogue without giving legitimacy to the Taliban. Norway has also consistently provided platforms for women human rights activists, political leaders, and civil society representatives in Oslo and in the UN. 

And instability in Afghanistan is also a threat to international peace and security.  In the year ahead, the international community must clearly communicate our expectations to the Taliban - on human rights and political stability, on dialogue between Afghans, and on counterterrorism.

The Afghan people need peace - and they need it now. Norway will continue to stand by their side.