Norwegians Doubtful about Norway’s Role in Afghanistan

In a recent survey conducted for Doctors without Borders(MSF) Scandinavia, 1,000 Norwegians were asked whether they thought “the help provided by the Norwegian forces in Afghanistan,” is given by the same principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality of the humanitarian organizations’ operations.

While only 38 percent of the respondets answered yes to the question, 30 percent said no, while the last third said they are not sure. MSF believes the responses indicate confusion among the Norwegian people of Norwegian forces’ intent in Afghanistan.

– These findings suggest that many Norwegians do not understand that Norway has a clear political and military objective in Afghanistan and is not a neutral actor. This can be seen in the context of the Norwegian political rhetoric about Afghanistan, where war referred to as a “contribution” or “commitment” to help the civilian population, “says Chairman of MSF in Norway, Håkon Bolkan.

Humanitarian aid is used as a political and military weapons

In recent years it has become common for governments and military forces provide what it calls humanitarian assistance to political support, or as part of a military strategy, stated the MSF chairman.

– Afghanistan is a striking example of this trend. Help is given with other motives than to rescue the most needy,” says Bolkan.

Bolkan also suggested that all humanitarian assistance should rest on three pillars: neutrality, independence and impartiality

– Help must be given to those who need it most. These principles have broad support in the Scandinavian population. But there seems to be a confusion about what principles mean in practice, particularly in Afghanistan, commented he.


The survey was conducted by Danish Nielsen Company on behalf of MSF in Scandinavia. About 10,000 patients are treated each month by the organization’s centers in Kabul and Helmand Province.


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