Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan: Western diplomats meet with Taliban delegation in Olso

A delegation of Taliban and Western diplomats began discussions in Oslo on Monday (January 24th) focused on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where millions of people are threatened by hunger, Agence France Presse learned from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. .

Taliban leaders making their first visit to Europe since their return to power gathered around the table with Western diplomats on Monday in Oslo to discuss the serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the international community conditioning the resumption of its aid to the respect for human rights.

Having responded to a controversial invitation from the Nordic country, the Afghan delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is meeting with representatives from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, European Union and Norway.

“While seeking to resolve the humanitarian crisis (…), we will pursue lucid diplomacy with the Taliban (dictated by) our abiding interest in a stable, rights-respecting and inclusive Afghanistan,” he said. tweeted US envoy to Afghanistan Thomas West on Sunday.

Since August, international aid, which financed approximately 80% of the Afghan budget, has stopped and the United States has frozen 9,5 billion dollars in assets of the Afghan Central Bank.

Unemployment has skyrocketed and civil servants' salaries have not been paid for months.

Hunger now threatens 23 million Afghans, or 55% of the population, according to the UN, which has requested 4,4 billion dollars from donor countries this year.

Afghanistan also ranks first in the 2022 Global Christian Persecution Index published on January 19 by the NGO Portes Ouvertes. The country has recently seen the level of violence against Christians skyrocket with the rise of the Taliban to power.

“The Christians who have not been killed are hiding, the secret churches no longer take the risk of meeting. It has become even more difficult for Christians to leave the country to save their lives,” reports the NGO.

The Taliban say they hope such meetings will help bring legitimacy to their government.

No state has yet recognized the regime of Islamist fundamentalists who were ousted from power in 2001 but who regained control of the country last August after a lightning offensive.

Norway stressed that these discussions "do not constitute legitimization or recognition", but that, in the face of the humanitarian emergency, it was necessary to "talk to the authorities who de facto run the country".

The international community, however, is waiting to see how the Islamist fundamentalists govern, having trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001.

Many experts and members of the Afghan diaspora nevertheless criticized the invitation made to the Taliban and several demonstrations took place in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo.

Editorial staff (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Trent Inness

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