Human rights

Taliban delegation visits Norway for human rights talks | Norway

A Taliban delegation is to meet next week with Norwegian officials and representatives of Afghan civil society in Oslo, the Norwegian foreign ministry said.

The visit is scheduled for Sunday to Tuesday, and “the Taliban will meet with representatives of Norwegian authorities and officials from a number of allied countries” for talks on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and human rights, he said. said the ministry.

Stressing that Norway would be “clear about our expectations,” particularly on “girls’ education and human rights,” Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said the meetings would “not represent a legitimization or recognition of the Taliban. “.

The ministry did not say which allies would attend, but Norwegian newspaper VG said they would include Britain, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

“We are extremely concerned about the serious situation in Afghanistan, where millions of people are facing a real humanitarian catastrophe,” Huitfeldt said.

“In order to be able to help the civilian population in Afghanistan, it is essential that the international community and Afghans from various sectors of society engage in dialogue with the Taliban,” Huitfeldt added.

“We need to talk to the de facto authorities in the country. We cannot let the political situation lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe,” Huitfeldt said.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last summer as international troops withdrew after a two-decade presence. A US-led invasion in late 2001 toppled the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated considerably since August. International aid came to a sudden halt and the US froze $9.5bn (£7bn) in assets at Afghanistan’s central bank.

Famine now threatens 23 million Afghans, or 55% of the population, according to the UN, which says it needs $5 billion from donor countries this year to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the country.