Saturday, May 28

The Taliban travel to Oslo to negotiate with Western diplomats


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An Afghan delegation meets with representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States to try to guarantee humanitarian aid

A Talib representative
A Taliban representative greets the British delegate this Monday in Oslo.AFP
  • The look of the correspondent Selling a son to be able to eat in Afghanistan

Some seek international recognition; others, solve the dilemma of how to continue providing humanitarian aid to a country whose government is in the hands of individuals who daily kick the Charter of Human Rights. A group of Taliban and representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Germany or the USA have traveled to Norway to resolve this issue face to face starting this Monday. In light of what has happened in Afghanistan in recent months, the gap between the parties cannot be greater.

However, the fundamentalists were able to celebrate last week the recent opening of a small European representative office in Kabul. Their next ‘victory’, after having traveled to Russia, Qatar, Iran, China or Pakistan in search of legitimacy in the international arena, they seek it in a global center for conflict mediation: Oslo. Not surprisingly, the Norwegian rulers have been the first to stress that admitting the Taliban delegation to the country is not the same as recognizing them.

According to the Norwegian foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeld, having organized the meeting with the Taliban “does not represent a legitimation or recognition” of the fundamentalists. “But we must talk to the country’s de facto authorities. We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even greater humanitarian disaster,” added Huitfeld on the eve of the visit, which began with a harsh meeting between the new lords of Afghanistan and a group of Afghan human rights activists.

During this meeting, which took place on Sunday, one of the participants showed the Taliban the photos of Tamana Zaryab Paryani and Parwana Ibraimkhail. Both young women have been missing for a week, after being arrested after protesting against the Taliban, who deny any responsibility. At the end of the meeting, the activist Jamila Afghani told the AFP news agency that the Taliban “had shown good will […]. Let us see in what facts his words are translated”.

This Monday, the UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, has returned to the load. In his meeting with Sirajuddin Haqqani, whom the United States accuses of terrorism and whom the Taliban appointed Minister of the Interior of his Islamic Emirate, Lyons “urged” him to open “an investigation and guarantee the freedom of the disappeared Afghan activists,” according to a United Nations statement. Thus began a day of handshakes in Norway.

“The talks have focused on the economy, humanitarian aid, security, the functioning of the Central Bank, health and other related issues,” explained a spokesman for the new Afghan government. Meanwhile, in the streets of Oslo and in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dozens of demonstrators protested against the arrival of the Taliban in the country. “No to the Taliban!” they cried, during their first trip to Europe since their return to power.

Since then, international aid, which financed around 80% of the budget of the previous Afghan government, has been almost completely suspended. In addition, The US has frozen some 8.4 billion euros in assets owned by the Central Bank of Afghanistan, which is making it extremely difficult for the Islamic Emirate to manage, including the allocation of funds to pay civil servants’ salaries and health care. Added to this is a growing humanitarian crisis.

The main argument against the release of Afghan funds is that the Taliban could use that money for spurious purposes, in addition to the fact that, since coming to power, the new rulers have hardly respected Human Rights. Oslo is presented as an opportunity to rectify this situation, which has already caused 55% of the Afghan population to suffer from famine, and prevent the current situation from getting worse.

The fear is that, in the end, the meetings of these days will only serve to reinforce the presence of the Taliban in power. This is what Shaifullah Azam, one of the 15 delegates from Kabul in Oslo, has hinted at after the first meetings. In words for the AP agency, Azam has said that these meetings are “a step towards the legitimization of the Afghan government”. “This type of invitation and communication will help the European community, the US and many other countries to erase their wrong image of the Afghan government.”

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