In Norway, talks begin between the Taliban and Afghan civil society

The first Taliban delegation in visit in Europe from the movement’s return to power in Afghanistan began talks with Afghan civil society representatives on the human rights issue on Sunday, according to the Norwegian foreign ministry.

It is expected that the delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban government Amir Khan Muttaki will dedicate the first day of his visit in Norway, which will last three days, in talks with Afghan activists and journalists.

On their first visit in Europe since returning to power last August, the Taliban will also meet Norwegian officials and representatives from the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the European Union.

A US State Department official said the meeting’s agenda would include “the formation of a political system representative of all Afghans and addressing urgent humanitarian and economic crises and concerns related to security and the fight against terrorism, as well as the issue of human rights, in especially the education of girls and women “.

The Taliban were overthrown in 2001 but returned to power in August with the completion of the final withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.

Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told “AFP” on Saturday that the movement hopes the talks “will help change the atmosphere of war . in a peaceful situation “.

No country has yet recognized the Taliban government. Norwegian Foreign Minister Anneken Hoetfeldt stressed that the talks “will neither legitimize nor recognize the Taliban”.

“But we have to talk to the authorities who actually run the country. We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe,” he added.

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly since August. Suddenly, international aid, which had funded about 80% of Afghanistan’s budget, was suspended, while the United States froze 9.5 billion dollars. asset at the Central Bank of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, unemployment rates have soared and public sector salaries have not been paid for months as the country has experienced several droughts.

Today, the specter of hunger threatens 23 million Afghans, or 55 percent of the population, according to United Nations data, which indicates that questyear need $ 4.4 billion from donor countries to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

In this context, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday: “It would be wrong to subject the Afghan people to collective punishment because the de facto authorities do not act. in appropriately “.

The international community is still in waiting to know how the Taliban intend to govern Afghanistan, having largely ignored the issue of human rights during their first term between 1996 and 2001.

The Taliban insist they are becoming more moderate, but to women it still is in much denied work in the public sector and most secondary schools remain closed to girls.

Norway has a long track record of playing a mediating role in conflicts, too in Middle East, Sri Lanka and Colombia.

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