While Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen hailed Norway’s contribution for providing “invaluable expertise” and boosting the country’s “visibility” as a loyal NATO member, the new bill for the country’s involvement between 2002 and 2020 has prompted questions.
Norway’s nearly two-decade-long military effort in Afghanistan has cost the country’s state coffers NOK 10.5 billion ($1.3 billion), the military newspaper Forsvarets Forum reported, citing the Armed Forces.
If civilian assistance over the period between 2002 and 2020 is considered as well, the amount is more than doubled. In the same period, Norway has sent aid to Afghanistan to the tune of NOK 12.3 billion ($1.5 billion).
However, this figure has been trimmed somewhat, as the Armed Forces previously estimated Norway’s military contribution in Afghanistan at NOK 11.5 billion ($1.4 billion). The figure given by Forsvarets Forum is nearly $200 million dollars lower than that previously suggested by the Armed Forces for the period 2002-2017.
Researcher Kristian Berg Harpviken at the PRIO Peace Research Institute is somewhat sceptical of the figures and pointed out that Afghanistan has long been the Norwegian Armed Forces’ most central task.
“In the 2002-2014 period, this was the most important thing the Armed Forces did. One may ask whether it is completely realistic that more of the Armed Forces’ expenses are not linked to Afghanistan,” he mused in an interview with…