Monday, 23 May, 2022

Taliban, Western officials meet for talks in Oslo

OSLO: In their first visit to Europe since returning to power, the Taliban began landmark talks with Western diplomats in Oslo on Monday to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, reports AFP.

The international community has however insisted the Taliban must respect human rights before aid can resume to the country.

The Taliban delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, began talks just after 0930 GMT with representatives of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the European Union and Norway.

The closed-door discussions, facilitated by Norway, are being held at the Soria Moria Hotel, on a snowy hilltop outside Oslo.

Afghanistan's humanitarian situation has deteriorated drastically since last August when the fundamentalists stormed back to power 20 years after being toppled.

International aid came to a halt, worsening the plight of millions of people already suffering from hunger after several severe droughts.

Thomas West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted on Sunday: "As we seek to address humanitarian crisis together with allies, partners, and relief orgs, we will continue clear-eyed diplomacy with the Taliban regarding our concerns and our abiding interest in a stable, rights-respecting and inclusive Afghanistan." No country has yet recognised the Taliban government.