Amid crisis in Afghanistan, Taliban delegation begins talks in Oslo

Published on : 08:07 AM Jan 24, 2022

Representatives of the Taliban on Sunday began three-day talks with western officials and Afghanistan civil society members in Oslo, Norway amid deteriorating human rights and economic situation in Afghanistan.

Oslo (Norway): Representatives of the Taliban on Sunday began three-day talks with western officials and Afghanistan civil society members in Oslo, Norway amid deteriorating human rights and economic situation in Afghanistan.

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"We are extremely concerned about the grave situation in Afghanistan, where millions of people are facing a full-blown humanitarian disaster. To be able to help the civilian population in Afghanistan, both the international community and Afghans from various parts of society must engage in dialogue with the Taliban. We will be clear about our expectations of the Taliban, particularly as regards girls’ education and human rights, such as women’s right to participate in society," said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Anniken Huitfeldt.

The Taliban delegation was led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. In Oslo, during the three-day meeting, the Taliban will meet representatives of the Norwegian authorities and officials from several allied countries. Advertisement

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Meetings will also take place between the Taliban delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues.

"These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country. We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster," Huitfeldt said.

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Afghanistan is contending with drought, a pandemic, an economic collapse and the effects of years of conflict. Some 24 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity. Reports indicate that one million children could die of starvation. According to UN estimates, more than half of the population will be facing famine this winter, and 97 per cent of the population could fall below the poverty line this year.

Norway is continuing to pursue a dialogue with the Taliban to promote human rights and women’s participation in society and to strengthen humanitarian and economic efforts in Afghanistan in support of the Afghan people. Recently, a Norwegian delegation visited Kabul for talks on the dire humanitarian situation in the country.

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"Humanitarian assistance, while essential, is not enough. We must prevent a collapse in basic services such as health and education. We must support the livelihoods of families and communities. This could reduce the number of people needing humanitarian assistance," Huitfeldt said. One of the key principles underpinning Norway’s peace and reconciliation efforts is the willingness to talk to all parties. Norway has been in dialogue with the Taliban for many years.

Read: UNICEF provides aid to 800 families in Afghanistan including food, medicines, winter supplies

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