Taliban hold talks in Norway


Oslo, the capital of Norway, is hosting three-day talks between a Taliban delegation and Western officials and representatives of Afghan civil society on the issue of providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

The media reports that the Taliban delegation of 15 people is headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Interim Cabinet of Taliban, Amir Khan Muttaqi. Negotiations are held in one of the hotels in Oslo behind closed doors.

According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, representatives of the Taliban movement were invited to Oslo for talks on January 23-25. Having accepted a controversial invitation from Norway, the Taliban were holding talks with representatives of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the European Union and Norway.

What is on the agenda?

According to Abdul Kahar Balkhi, spokesman for the Taliban Foreign Ministry, issues of the economy, humanitarian aid, security, health care and the work of the Central Bank were discussed during the talks. Muttaqi revealed after the closed-door talks that his side made proposals for the fields of the economy and education, and shared information with other countries.

According to a statement released by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. delegation, led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West, planned to discuss “the formation of a representative political system; responses to the urgent humanitarian and economic crises; security and counterterrorism concerns; and human rights, especially education for girls and women,”

Assessment of the negotiations – “A visit of Afghan Taliban officials to Norway is an achievement”

Thomas West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted on Sunday: “As we seek to address humanitarian crisis together with allies, partners, and relief orgs, we will continue clear-eyed diplomacy with the Taliban regarding our concerns and our abiding interest in a stable, rights-respecting and inclusive Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the meetings during the visit of representatives of the Afghan Taliban to Norway are assessed as an achievement. According to AZERTAG, members of the movement’s delegation, who were on a visit to Oslo, gave this assessment in an interview to journalists. Amir Khan Muttaki said: “The fact that Norway has given us this opportunity is in itself an achievement for us. After these meetings, we will definitely receive support for the humanitarian, medical and educational sectors of Afghanistan.”

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for Taliban, told the AFP news agency that the Taliban had “taken steps for meeting the demands of the Western world and hope to strengthen their relations through diplomacy with all the countries, including European countries and the West in general.”

Taliban delegate Shafiullah Azam told The Associated Press news agency that the meetings with Western officials were “a step to legitimise Afghan government”, adding that “this type of invitation and communication will help European community, US or many other countries to erase the wrong picture of the Afghan government”.

Negotiations should lead to the normalization of relations between Taliban lead Afghanistan and Western countries

According to Ilya Kusa, an expert on international politics at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, these negotiations in a strategic perspective should lead to the normalization of relations between Taliban Afghanistan and Western countries.

“It is clear that this will not happen immediately. Everything will be gradual. First, through the coordination of humanitarian cooperation, then through economic and financial assistance. The EU political representation in Kabul has recently opened. I think that the collective West will gradually come to de facto recognition of the Taliban authorities. And then de jure, when the Taliban form a full-fledged, permanent government,” he said.

Moreover, other political analysts also believe that such meetings could play a vital role in solving the problems in the country.

European Union resumes ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

EU Foreign Service spokesman Peter Stano told RIA Novosti that the European Union has begun to restore the minimum presence of foreign employees in its representation in Afghanistan to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population and control of the humanitarian situation.

In early December last year, the European Commission reported that the EU plans to resume the minimum work of its representation in Kabul within a few weeks.


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