Afghan Taliban Meet West officials For Humanitarian Aid

A humanitarian crisis where millions are threatened by starvation and human rights in Afghanistan will be a topic on agenda at talks that commence on Sunday in Oslo among the West, the Taliban, and the Afgan civil society members.

Since regaining power in August, the Taliban will be meeting Norwegian as well as United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and the European Union representatives, in their first visit to Europe.

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi will be leading the delegation.

The US State Department stated that the agenda will be forming of the representative political system, counter-terrorism and security issues, immediate responses to the economic and humanitarian emergency and human rights, particularly education for the women and girls.

The Taliban administration was toppled in 2001, however, they quickly came back to power in August after international military forces started their final withdrawal.

The Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Saturday informed AFP that the Taliban will be hoping to change the atmosphere of war into a peaceful environment.

Anniken Huitfeldt Norwegian Foreign Minister highlighted that the meeting would not represent a recognition or legitimization of the Taliban, as yet no country has recognized the Taliban government.

Huitfeldt further stated that, but we have to speak to the de facto government of Afghanistan. As we cannot permit the political scenario to get down to further adverse humanitarian disaster.

The humanitarian scenario in Afghanistan has distressingly deteriorated since August.

Afghan budget which was financed 80 percent by International aid was suddenly came to halt, as the United States has frozen $9.5 billion assets in the Afghan central bank

Salaries of civil servants have not been paid for months and unemployment has been skyrocketed in Afghanistan which is already devastated by many severe droughts. 

According to the United Nations, 55 percent of the Afghans around 23 million population is now threatened by hunger and this year immediately require $4.4 billion from donor countries to avoid the prevailing humanitarian crisis.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that, it would be a mistake to let the Afghan people to a collective punishment just because the de facto administrators are not behaving properly.

Kai Eide a former UN official to Afghanistan informs AFP that we cannot keep dispensing aid bypassing the Taliban authorities. One way or another you have to involve the Taliban government.

The international community wait and see how the Taliban aimed to rule Afghanistan, after failing on human rights during their first spell of government between 1996 and 2001.

Though the Taliban authorities claim to modernize, girls schools remain closed and women are still mostly excluded from employment in the public sector.

The Taliban representatives are expected to meet the Afghans from civil society, which includes journalists and women leaders, on their first day of talks at the Oslo meeting. 

Nargis Nehan the former Afghan minister for mines and petrol who now lives in Norway had declined to take part. She said to AFP that she fear talks would strengthen and normalize the Taliban. What guarantee is this time they will keep their promises when women activists and journalists are still being arrested?

The head of Afgan Institute for Strategic Studies Davood Moradian criticized Norway’s peace initiative.