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Afghanistan: Taliban welcome meeting with Westerners in Oslo


A Taliban delegation led by their Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has been in Norway since Saturday evening where it meets for three days with members of Afghan civil society and diplomats from Western countries, who link a resumption of their aid finance to respect for human rights.

The fact of having come to Norway […] is a success in itself, because we shared the international stage, Muttaqi told reporters on Monday, on the sidelines of talks with officials from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, the European Union and Norway.

From these meetings, we are sure to draw support in the humanitarian, health and educational sectors in Afghanistan., he said in Pashto.

These discussions, which are not unanimous, are taking place behind closed doors until Tuesday in the Soria Moria hotel, on a snowy hill near Oslo.

While more than half of the population is threatened by hunger in a country affected by several droughts and where international aid has dried up, the Taliban hope for the release of financial means and a form of recognition.

No state has so far recognized the regime of the Islamists who were ousted from power in 2001, but who regained control of Afghanistan last August after a lightning offensive.

A lucid diplomacy

Norway stressed that the Oslo talks were not not a legitimation or recognition, but that, given the humanitarian emergency, it was necessary to talk to the authorities who de facto run the country.

While seeking to resolve the humanitarian crisis […], we will pursue lucid diplomacy with the Taliban, [dictée par] our abiding interest in a stable, rights-respecting and inclusive Afghanistan, tweeted the US envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, on Sunday.

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Many experts and members of the Afghan diaspora have criticized the invitation to the fundamentalists who arrived in a private jet chartered by Norway. Demonstrations have multiplied in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo.

In Kabul, Wahida Amiri, an activist who has demonstrated regularly since the return of the Taliban, told AFP that she was sorry that a country like Norway is having this summit, sitting down with the terrorists and making deals.

Hunger threatens more than half of Afghans

International aid, which made it possible to finance approximately 80% of the Afghan budget, stopped in August and the United States froze $9.5 billion in assets of the Afghan Central Bank.

Hunger now threatens 23 million Afghans, or 55% of the population, according to the UN, which has requested 4.4 billion dollars from donor countries this year.

The international community, however, is waiting to see how the Islamists govern Afghanistan, having trampled on human rights in their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001.

Women still excluded

Despite the promises, women are largely excluded from public sector jobs and secondary schools for girls mostly remain closed.

Two feminist activists went missing last week in Kabul after taking part in a protest. The Taliban have denied any responsibility in this case.

Western diplomats also met on Monday with members of Afghan civil society, feminist activists and journalists, among others, who themselves discussed human rights with the Taliban on Sunday.

According to one of the activists, Mahbouba Seraj, the Taliban took them recognized and listened to. I hope for a form of mutual understanding, she told reporters on Monday.

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An exclusively male delegation

In what he presented as a joint statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday that understanding and cooperation were the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan.

Among the 15 members of the delegation – exclusively male – is Anas Haqqani, one of the leaders of the Haqqani network.

The presence in Oslo of Anas Haqqani has been strongly criticized.

Taliban representative Anas Haqqani. A war crimes complaint was filed against him in Oslo.

Photo: AP/Stian Lysberg Solum

His presence in Oslo is particularly criticized. Responsible for several deadly attacks in Afghanistan, his clan is considered by the United States as a group terrorist.

Complaint for war crimes

A complaint against Anas Haqqani has been filed in Oslo for war crimes.

people in 2011) went to a country”,”text”:”It hurts. It’s as if Anders Behring Breivik (the Norwegian neo-Nazi who killed 77 people in 2011) went to a country”}}”>It hurts. It’s as if Anders Behring Breivik (the Norwegian neo-Nazi who killed 77 people in 2011) went to a country as a delegate, the author of the complaint, Zahir Athari, told NRK radio and television.

This is a country that has been at war for decades, explained the Norwegian Minister for Development Aid, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, also on NRK.

If we wanted to welcome the people who matter, the authorities who in fact govern Afghanistan, we had to expect that some of them would have blood on their hands., did she say.

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