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Norway hosts Afghan officials, Taliban talks

KABUL:  A six member Afghan delegation will hold face-to-face meeting with Taliban in Oslo, the capital of Norway, a source privy to the development revealed on Monday.

A government official wishing not to be named told Pajhwok Afghan News that deputy foreign minister for political affairs Hikmat Khalil Karzai led the government delegation. The president tasked Khali Karzai to talk directly about peace with Taliban, he added.

Former vice president Yonus Qanoni, deputy chief executive officer Mohammad Muhaqiq, former commerce minister Dr. Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, former minister of women affairs Hassan Bano Ghazanfar and high peace council member Farhadullah Farhad are part of government team.

While Tayyab Agha and Hashmi represent Taliban in the crucial round of meeting.

A source in Norway Embassy in Kabul confirmed the visit of Afghan delegation. The conference is being held every year where important political and non-political figures participate, the source said.

The source said that former director of National Directorate of Security (NDS) Amrullah Salih headed a delegation who participated in previous year Oslo conference.

The Oslo forum website says about Oslo Forum 2015 – Annual Mediators’ Retreat “Co-hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Oslo Forum is a unique opportunity for senior conflict mediators, high-level decision makers and other major actors in peace processes to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on their own and others’ practice in a discreet setting and informal atmosphere.

Invitations are currently being extended to key national, regional and United Nations envoys charged with negotiating peace. Participation is by-invitation-only.

Taliban have increased their presence in several regional and international level conferences in recent past. Taliban delegation showed their presence in Pugwash meeting in Qatar followed by meeting with High Peace Council (HPC) in China and later a meeting with Afghan women representatives in Norway.

The last meeting between Afghan officials and Taliban delegation was held in Dubai where they met with several officials.

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst, said regarding these meeting that Taliban wanted to convey the messages through participation in such meetings that they believed the negotiations and table talks.

He said that Taliban wanted to convey their message to the international community that they agreed to talk on women rights and other political affairs. Such meetings would turn fruitful and provide opportunities to know each other view point, he added. (PAN)

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