Innlegg om Afghanistan på Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldts tale på Nobel Peace Prize forum 2022, «Afghanistan - Finding a Way Forward».

Utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldt med flere
Foto: Ane Lunde, Utenriksdepartementet

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Dear Afghan friends and friends of Afghanistan,

Today is one of the darkest days of the year. There is a sad symbolism in using such a dark day to shed light on the grave situation facing the Afghan people.

Since the Taliban took power by force, Norway’s message has been clear: ‘We will judge the Taliban by their actions, not by their words.’

So far, we are deeply disappointed.

On August 15th, the Taliban became responsible for the security and welfare of the Afghan people.

They have not delivered.

Yes, the security situation for most Afghans has improved. But without a representative government, without development, there can be no stability.

Instead, the Afghan people face economic collapse, increasing humanitarian needs, and restrictions on their rights.

The situation for women and girls is particularly difficult. Most have no access to education, to work, to free movement or free speech. On many levels, women are basically erased from public life.

This is a human rights crisis.

It is also bad for economics. Sound development in Afghanistan is impossible if we exclude half the population. 


Many Norwegians were surprised – and also angry – when we invited the Taliban to Norway in January.

But I remain convinced that it was the right decision.

The Oslo meetings brought together the de facto authorities and representatives of Afghan civil society and also the international community. 

There were frank discussions with the Taliban on human rights, on governance, and also on the humanitarian situation.

But the Taliban has not delivered on their promises. They have not opened the schools for girls. They have not moved towards a representative government. They do not respect human rights, as illustrated most recently by the public execution this week.

Still, we have continued to meet Taliban representatives in Afghanistan and also elsewhere. We have communicated our expectations and disappointment very, very clearly.

Some question the point of continuing engagement when there has been no constructive response.

My answer is that there is no alternative to dialogue. 

We need to talk with those in power –

in order to help the Afghan people,
for instance to ensure access for aid workers to all parts of the country.

No access means no life-saving assistance.


This is also why many Afghans encourage us to continue to facilitate talks. 

With the Taliban, and between the Taliban and other Afghans.

We are constantly assessing, together with partners like the EU, the US, the UK, how to create leverage. How to reach the real decision-makers. How to make our messages heard.

We must not look away. History has taught us that it is unwise to give up on Afghanistan. No one will benefit if the country descends into civil war or becomes a base for terrorism. 

That would hurt both the Afghan people and the international community. Today, the Islamic State poses an even greater threat in Afghanistan. If not contained, the threat can also spread internationally over time.

As de facto rulers, the Taliban must ensure that Afghan territory is not used to plan and finance terrorist acts, or to shelter or train terrorists.


The Afghan people are facing yet another brutal winter. Afghanistan is the UN’s largest country operation. So I want to thank you, Filippo, for your organisation’s dedication to helping displaced Afghans in the region and beyond. Thank you.

Humanitarian aid is essential, but not sufficient on its own. Norway is at the forefront of efforts to mobilise more sustainable assistance. Not to, or through, the Taliban, but to support the Afghan people. Norway has increased its support this year –and we will continue to provide more. 



Thanks to the Nobel Institute, we have heard some of the foremost voices from and on Afghanistan today.

I want to thank Zarifa Ghafari, and you Hassina], for showing us that Afghan women will not be easily silenced. And Secretary Clinton, or Hillary as we say in Norway, and Åsne, for helping to amplify that message across the world. 

To quote Rumi, who was born in Northern Afghanistan over 700 years ago: ‘Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.’ 

Afghanistan’s greatest treasure is its people.

In these times of ruin, the Afghan people are not giving up hope. We owe it to them not to give up either.

Thank you.