Foreign Minister Brende in Afghanistan

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende is visiting Kabul today for meetings with President Ashraf Ghani, Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani and Minister of Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, among others.

‘Norway is a long-term partner for Afghanistan, and in 2017 we will contribute NOK 700 million to education, business and rural development, good governance and humanitarian efforts,’ Mr Brende said.

‘This year Norway will be funding construction of 11 new primary and lower secondary schools in Faryab province as well as helping more girls to obtain higher education,` Mr Brende said. Plans call for the schools to be completed in 2017, and NOK 29.5 million has been allocated to the project.

From 2013 to 2015 Norway funded construction of 10 schools in this province. That means about 3,300 additional pupils now get to attend school. Most of these are girls. Norway has previously funded construction to accommodate more than 50,000 school places in the province.

‘Education is an essential premise for building a healthy democracy. That is why education is one of our most important focus areas – also in Afghanistan,’ Foreign Minister Brende said.

Even though Afghanistan has made progress in a number of fields, the country still faces major challenges.

‘Lasting stability in Afghanistan will require a political solution that brings the armed groups into a democratic system. It is important that the parties come together and work for peace. Norway supports this work,’ Mr Brende said.

Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs are increasing. The UN appeal for international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan has never been higher.

‘In the past year Norway has doubled humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to help the many internally displaced persons and the Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries. We will provide extensive emergency relief to Afghanistan in the coming year as well,’ Mr Brende said.

There is broad international consensus that Afghanistan will require significant support for a number of years to ensure stability. The country is confronted with major security, political, economic and humanitarian challenges.