SCA Comunity Based School in Jalalabad. Photo| Cristoffer Hjalmar

Swedish engagement in Afghanistan critically examined

The Inquiry appointed by the Swedish Government with the mission to evaluate Sweden’s concerted engagement in Afghanistan presented its report on to the Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Thursday evening.

The Inquiry has investigated the Swedish engagement in Afghanistan regarding political-diplomatic efforts, military operations and development cooperation between 2002 and 2014, with a particular focus on activities in northern Afghanistan between 2006 and 2014. The Inquiry has described, analyzed and evaluated the Swedish engagement and made proposals for the future work of the Government.

The Inquiry draws the conclusion that overall, the fulfillment of the objectives of the Swedish engagement in Afghanistan was highly inadequate. However, the fulfillment varied somewhat for the six Swedish objectives for the engagement identified by the Inquiry. These critical conclusions have already given rise to a debate in Sweden about how the mission in Afghanistan should have been managed.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), even though being a non-governmental organization, has been the second largest channel for the development aid to Afghanistan from the Swedish Government. SCA has maintained a critical position on how the Swedish engagement has been managed.

Anna-Karin Johansson, Secretary General of SCA, is now saying that:

-The Inquiry has a relatively self-critical approach on Sweden’s achievements in Afghanistan. Now it is important to learn for the future of similar engagements.

-SCA has for several years warned for civil-military cooperation, because we have seen the negative consequences of that on our work. Since the international military eventually became part of the internal conflict, it is very important for us as a development actor to be impartial.

-In order to make poverty reduction successful, it takes a long time commitment and goals from the international community that have that very aim. Poverty reduction in Afghanistan didn’t become a prioritized goal from international donors until the Brussels Conference in October last year.

Here you will find a summary in English of the report:

In December SCA arranged a conference in Sweden called “Afghanistan’s Road to Self-Reliance – what has been done and what can be done better?” Several Afghan and international key note speaker gave their view on lessons learned from 15 years of foreign intervention in Afghanistan. You will find a report from the conference here:

For more information contact: Bjorn Lindh, Communications Manager at SCA: 0093794 64 02 43

Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) has been present in Afghanistan since the beginning of the 1980s. With over 5 000 Afghan employees it is one of the largest organizations in the country. SCA supports education, health, rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, and contributes to development in rural areas.