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As part of the international follow-up of the 2001 military intervention, Norway increased its engagement in Afghanistan4 from the end of 2001. In accordance with the Bonn Agreement, the goal of the engagement was to assist in stabilising and developing the country and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for terrorist operations. At an early stage Norway supported the training of Afghan police. Norwegian police advisors started participating in police training activities in Kabul in 20045 and in the Faryab province in late 2006.

Home to the Norwegian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), Norway’s engagement in the Faryab province prompted a request for a broader presence of Norwegian advisors to the province’s legal sector. In particular, the PRT and the police contingent in Meymaneh emphasised a clear need of a stronger prison sector. There were two main reasons for this emphasis. First, the police advisors visited the provincial prison in Meymaneh and reported an urgent need for improvements in prison conditions. Secondly, a similar request for assistance made by the prison director to the PRT added to the sense of urgency for engaging in prison sector assistance.