Norway lauds the Taliban, say Afghans in Norway

Norway will host the Taliban government’s first visit to the West.

Taliban fighters at Kabul’s presidential palace after seizing power in the country on Aug. 15.

On Sunday 23 January, a delegation from the Taliban will land in Oslo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed di Press conference.

They came to Norway to participate in talks with a number of actors. Several countries and members of Afghan civil society will attend.

It is the first time Islamist extremists have visited a western country since seizing power in Afghanistan.

We know so far about what the Taliban will do in Norway.

Three day visit

The news came to light on Friday morning, days after Norway’s ambassador to Afghanistan visited the country with two diplomats.

The Taliban would thus repay the visit. The plan, the Islamist extremists will be in Oslo from Sunday 23 January to Tuesday 26 January. Aftenposten has spoken to sources working closely with the planning. They stated that the program would consist of three parts:

Meeting between the Taliban delegation and a delegation from Afghan civil society. The latter will include Afghan journalists and activists of both sexes.

2. Meeting between the Taliban delegation and special representatives from the West. Special representatives from Norway, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the European Union and Italy will participate.

Bilateral talks between Norway and the Taliban.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. In early January, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi led a delegation to visit Iran. Several sources inform Aftenposten that he is among those who will meet with Norwegian authorities in Norway.

On Twitter, the spokesperson for the Islamic Emirates announced that the delegation was meeting on Thursday under Muttaqi’s leadership to discuss and prepare for the trip.

– Norway flatters the Taliban

Some Afghans in Norway were shocked and frightened when they heard about the visit. They are critical:

– It was a diplomatic victory for the Taliban that they came on an official visit to Norway. Norway lauds the Taliban. The Taliban have been working to achieve this for a long time, said Zahir Athari. He is a peace activist and has been involved in organizing celebrations in Oslo since the Taliban came to power.

Athari is critical of the fact that the Taliban were allowed to come to Norway before they showed they respect human rights, and women in Afghanistan are no exception.

– This is a mockery of a whole generation of Afghans that Norway has been involved in building for 20 years, he said.

– Isn’t it important to have a dialogue with the Taliban, not least because of the difficult situation for people in the country right now?

– Yes, I am for dialogue. But it must not happen in Norway, it can happen in many other places in Afghanistan.

Worse humanitarian situation

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan after 20 years of war. In the months since then, the humanitarian situation has taken a historic leap.

The number of people at risk of starvation is “unparalleled”, based on FN:

  • More than 22.8 million people, more than half the country’s population, are expected to live with possible life-threatening food shortages this winter.
  • Of these, more than 8.7 million people live on the verge of starvation.

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The family had three children instead of one. Now they are fighting against time to keep them alive.

The United Nations has started sending large amounts of aid to the country. This assistance was not provided directly to the Taliban.

The Taliban have been seeking access to frozen Afghan money abroad, especially in the United States. A great power has set foot. Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a different solution.

The humanitarian situation in the country is so precarious that money must be sent to pay the people’s wages, he said.

However, according to Aftenposten’s experience, aid sent to the country should not be the main topic of discussion.

The aim of the three-day visit is to create dialogue between the Taliban and Afghan civil society.

Norway’s message to the Taliban

After seizing power, the Taliban have sought recognition from the international community. No later than January 19, Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund holds a press conference. There he once again called on countries to recognize the Taliban.

Norway will not give such recognition to the Taliban while they are in Oslo.

– This is not legitimacy or recognition from the Taliban. But we have to talk to those who in practice rule the country today. “We cannot allow the political situation to lead to a worse humanitarian catastrophe,” said Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.

This will be Norway’s message to the Taliban, as far as Aftenposten is concerned:

Norway will first and foremost express concern about the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Then Norway will send a clear message that it is important that the rights of all citizens are protected. Girls and women’s access to education will be the “cornerstone of the message”.

In the months since the Taliban took power, there have been a number of reports that they continue to threaten and kill, including minorities, women and former security forces.

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He was shot and killed on his way home from the wedding. Now more are asking whether the Taliban can keep what they promised.

Not the first visit

It is no coincidence that Norway was the stage for the Taliban’s first visit to the West. Norwegian politicians have participated in peace talks between the Taliban and the former Afghan government for years. Among other things in Doha just before the Taliban took power.

When the Taliban landed in Oslo this weekend, it was not the first time they had come to Norway. The last time was during the Oslo Forum in June 2015.

On June 16, 2015, a delegation from the Afghan authorities attended the opening of the Oslo Forum at the Losby Estate. The delegation is in Norway for talks with the Taliban. The man in the red tie on the left is Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai (nephew of former President Hamid Karzai). Next to him are former Trade Minister Anwar-ul-haq Ahadi, former Minister for Women’s Affairs Husn Banu Ghazanfar, former speaker of Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, Yunus Qanooni and Mohammad Mohaqiq, who heads the Afghan peace negotiating delegation. Foreign Minister Børge Brende and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos were also present.

Then the Afghan authorities and extremist Islamists met to talk about the Losby estate. At that time, the Taliban delegation was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, who currently serves as the Taliban’s Deputy Foreign Minister.

A significant difference from 2015 and the visit that began on Sunday is that the Taliban now controls Afghanistan with its own government. Major security measures are expected as long as the Taliban stay in Norway.

Matt Thompson

"Problem solver. Proud twitter specialist. Travel aficionado. Introvert. Coffee trailblazer. Professional zombie ninja. Extreme gamer."

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