The Norwegian government has appointed a committee that will evaluate Norway’s engagement in Afghanistan. The main objective is to review and draw lessons from the operation. Senior researchers Astri Suhrke and Torunn Wimpelmann at CMI will be part of the Commission.

On 25 February 2014, the Norwegian Parliament voted to establish a commission to undertake an overall evaluation of Norway’s military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan from 2001-2014. The commission, referred to as ‘Afghanistanutvalget’, was appointed in today’s cabinet meeting. The main objective is to examine Norwegian efforts and draw lessons from all aspects of the engagement in Afghanistan for the past 13 years.

Pointing to lessons learnt

CMI researchers Astri Suhrke and Torunn Wimpelmann have been appointed members of the Commission. They have broad experience working in and on Afghanistan.

-The Norwegian engagement in Afghanistan is Norway’s biggest war effort since World War II. The conflict in Afghanistan has also shaped the development of the Norwegian armed forces and their relationship to NATO, says Suhrke. It is important to examine how we came to be part of the international engagement in Afghanistan and what has been achieved. Another of the main objectives of the evaluation process is to draw out lessons for possible future engagements of this kind, including the role of development aid in a conflict situation.


The bigger picture

The Commission consists of ten members and is chaired by former minister of foreign affairs and ambassador Bjørn Tore Godal. The Commission will start working in January 2015 and will submit its report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense by 1 June 2016.

The Commission will evaluate Norway’s civilian and military contributions in Afghanistan and Norwegian support to and participation in international efforts in Afghanistan.

Its mandate includes assessing the broader international objectives and strategy in Afghanistan. The terms of reference list the role of UN and UNAMA, NATO’s strategy and Norway’s position within the common international effort. The Commission will also examine the different components of the international strategy towards Afghanistan; the military, civilian and political efforts, and the results that have been achieved in the intersection between these components.

-Norway did not operate in a vacuum in Afghanistan. We need to examine our role in the bigger picture, says Suhrke.


The ten members of the Afghanistan Review Commission are:

Former ambassador Bjørn Tore Godal, Oslo, Chair
Professor Mats Berdal, London
Professor Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, Tromsø
Retired General Torgeir Hagen, Hamar
Director Kristian Berg Harpviken, Oslo
Senior partner Gro Nystuen, Veierland
Professor Sten Rynning, Odense
Senior Researcher Astri Suhrke, Bergen
Professor Rolf Tamnes, Oslo
Senior Researcher Torunn Wimpelmann, Bergen