Skip to main content

The Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC) Secretary-General Liv Kjølseth and Board Chair Gry Synnevåg participated in a meeting with the Taliban delegation at the Soria Moria Hotel during their visit to Oslo in January 2022. Representatives from Norwegian People’s Aid, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, and the Red Cross were also present at the meeting.


– We raised the issue of the right to education for girls with the Taliban representatives, particularly the need for qualified students in our midwifery schools, as there are many areas in the country where there are no girls with education above the sixth grade. We also discussed the need to improve food security by giving people access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. The Taliban representatives said that schools would open in the spring. We had hoped for a more binding and conclusive answer about reopening after the winter break in March. It is therefore hard to assess how successful this meeting was, said Secretary-General Liv Kjølseth.

Before the meeting, NAC sent a memo to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with key points to improve the current situation in Afghanistan, which contained demands for both the Taliban and the international community.

Health and education

– Equal access to good health and quality education and secure access to food are fundamental needs that the authorities are responsible for providing to Afghans without any form of discrimination. A necessary first step must be that girls and young women are allowed to return to school after the winter break, said Board Chair Gry Synnevåg.

– Our impressions after the meeting were that the Taliban representatives were aware of these issues and that they want to start programs to educate girls in health sciences. This is encouraging and supports the dialogues we have had with the Ministry of Education in Kabul about the needs in multiple districts, says Kjølseth.

NAC is now in the process of admitting new students at the three regional Institutes for Health Sciences that NAC runs in cooperation with the Ghazanfar Institute of Health Sciences, and we anticipate a shortage of qualified students from the areas where there is a significant need for female health personnel.

Food security and strengthening local governance

The food situation in Afghanistan is incredibly precarious, and the country is on the brink of famine. Investing in agricultural based infrastructure and other long term development programs in the agricultural sector is critical to preventing or mitigating famine.

– It is important that the Taliban further develops institutions that are already in place to ensure the inclusion of women and youth in local development projects. Here, there is a lot of existing competence to build on to secure equitable development across the country to ensure that no one gets left behind, said Synnevåg.