Taliban to attend meeting in Norway next week


A Taliban delegation will travel to Norway for talks with the Norwegian government, meeting with representatives of the Norwegian authorities and several allied countries but also with civil society activists and human rights defenders from Afghanistan.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Friday that it has invited representatives of the Taliban to Oslo from 23 – 25 January. The statement didn't say which other countries would take part in the meeting.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said, "We are extremely concerned about the serious situation in Afghanistan." She said there is "a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people" in the country.

She stressed that the meeting was "not a legitimation or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to those who in practice govern the country today".

"We cannot let the political situation lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe," she said.

The Foreign Ministry said that the Taliban delegation meetings also will include Afghans with backgrounds "from various fields and include women leaders, journalists, and people who work with, among other things, human rights and humanitarian, economic, social and political issues."

It said that earlier this week, a Norwegian delegation visited Kabul for talks on the precarious humanitarian situation in the country.    (AP)

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