Home LATEST NEWS Taliban meet members of Afghan civil society in Oslo

Taliban meet members of Afghan civil society in Oslo

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Led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban delegation – the first to visit Europe since their return to power in August – met behind closed doors with feminist activists and journalists, in particular, at the hotel Soria Moria, on a snowy hill near Oslo.

One of the feminist activists, Jamila Afghani, spoke a positive meeting to break the ice. The Taliban have shown goodwill. Let’s see if their deeds will follow their words, she said.

Participants emphasized that all Afghans must work together for political, economic and security improvement in the country, also tweeted the spokesman for the Islamist government, Zabihullah Mujahid, in what he presented as a joint statement.

The Taliban have also acknowledged that understanding and joint cooperation are the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan.

The humanitarian emergency in Afghanistan and human rights are at the heart of this three-day visit, as millions of people are threatened by hunger in the country, deprived of international aid and affected by several droughts.

No state has so far recognized the government of the Taliban, Islamist fundamentalists ousted from power in 2001, but who regained control of the country last August after a lightning offensive.

The discussions that will take place in Norway do not constitute a legitimation or recognition, Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said on Friday. But we have to talk to the authorities who de facto run the country.

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A contested presence

The demonstrators unfurled a long banner in the colors of the flag of Afghanistan.

People protest against talks with Taliban representatives on emergency aid and human rights outside the Foreign Ministry in Oslo.

Photo: afp via getty images/Torstein Be/NTB

Several dozen demonstrators protested in front of his ministry on Sunday to cries of No to the Taliban, Taliban terrorists and Afghan Lives Matter.

It’s laughing in the face of all Afghans who have lost family members there., testified a demonstrator, Shala Sultani. How can they invite terrorists who have killed so many people to sit down and talk about peace?

On Monday, the delegation will meet representatives of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the European Union, before bilateral contacts with the Norwegian authorities on Tuesday.

While seeking to resolve the humanitarian crisis with our allies, partners and humanitarian organizations, we will pursue lucid diplomacy with the Taliban [dictée par] our abiding interest in a stable, rights-respecting and inclusive Afghanistan, U.S. Special Representative Thomas West tweeted on Sunday.

Among the 15 members of the all-male delegation that arrived on Saturday evening on board a plane chartered by Norway was Anas Haqqani, one of the heads of the Haqqani network. His presence in Oslo is particularly criticized. Responsible for several deadly attacks in Afghanistan, his clan, which has become a major component of the new Taliban regime, is considered by the United States to be a terrorist group.

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Difficult life in Afghanistan

Since August, international aid, which financed about 80% of the Afghan budget, has been blocked and the United States has frozen $9.5 billion in Afghan Central Bank assets. Unemployment has skyrocketed and civil servants’ salaries have not been paid for months.

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.

It would be a mistake to inflict collective punishment on the Afghans, just because the de facto authorities do not behave well, repeated on Friday the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

The international community, however, is waiting to see how the Islamist fundamentalists govern, having trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. Despite their promises, women are largely excluded from public sector jobs and Girls’ secondary schools mostly remain closed.

Former Afghan Minister of Mines and Petroleum, now a refugee in Norway, Nargis Nehan says he declined an invitation to talks, fearing thatthey normalize the Taliban, that they reinforce them without changing one iota.

This week, two feminist activists disappeared in Kabul.

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