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Taliban in Norway amid tsunami of hunger in Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL: A Taliban delegation has arrived in Norway for talks with the Norwegian government and several allied countries on alleviating a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as well as for meetings with civil society activists and human rights defenders who are part of Taliban delegation.

The Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Friday that it invited representatives of the Taliban to Oslo from Sunday to Tuesday.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimization or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Foreign Affairs Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster.”

Huitfeldt also said economic and political conditions in Afghanistan have created a “full-scale humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people” facing starvation.

Governments globally have been grappling with how to curb a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan without formally recognizing the Taliban, which swept to power on Aug. 15, 2021, as foreign forces withdrew.

Those attending Sunday’s talks include women’s rights activists and human rights advocates from Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora.

The Taliban delegation arrived in Oslo late on Saturday. 

The talks beginning Monday will mark the Taliban’s first meeting with Western diplomats in Europe since the group seized power in Afghanistan in August last year.

An all-male 15-member delegation arrived on a plane organized by the Norwegian government, according to a Taliban spokesman.

The vastly disparate parties are due to discuss human rights and humanitarian aid for Afghans during their talks.

The hard-line militants will meet Norwegian and European Union officials, as well as representatives from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the US.

A US State Department official said that the agenda of the talks would be about the “formation of a representative political system, responses to the urgent humanitarian and economic crises, security and counter-terrorism concerns, and human rights, especially education for girls and women.”

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