August 14, 2022

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The Taliban come to Norway to negotiate - VG

The Taliban come to Norway to negotiate – VG

Taliban in Doha: Senior Taliban leaders Shahabuddin Dilawar, Amir Khan Mottaki, and Khairullah Khairkhwa during a round of negotiations in Doha in October.

For the first time since taking power, the Taliban is sending a delegation to a Western country to negotiate with activists and diplomats. The sensitive meeting took place in Norway.

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The meeting will last for three days, next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and VG will be confirmed by central sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last fall, negotiations were underway in Doha, the capital of Qatar. But the extremist Islamist group has never before come to a Western country after it came to power.

The single most important case will be the massive humanitarian crisis brewing in Afghanistan.

This will be the first time for the Taliban to meet with civil society activists and human rights defenders in Afghanistan. These are flown from Afghanistan, but also from other countries where they live in exile.

In addition, Taliban leaders will hold meetings with Western and Norwegian diplomats.

my knowledge: Norway’s secret role in negotiations with the Taliban

Foreign Minister: Anken Heitfeldt

Huitfeldt confirms

VG has received the following written confirmation from the State Department:

Norway invited Taliban representatives to Oslo from January 23-25, 2022 for meetings with Norwegian authorities, representatives of the international community and other Afghans with a civil society background.

– We are very concerned about the seriousness of the situation in Afghanistan. It is a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people. To help civilians in Afghanistan, the international community, as well as Afghans from different parts of society, should have a dialogue with the Taliban. We want to be clear about our expectations from the Taliban, especially when it comes to girls’ education and human rights such as women’s participation in society, says Secretary of State Anken Heitfeldt.

– This is not legitimacy or recognition of the Taliban. But we must speak to those who practically rule the country today. We cannot let the political situation lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe, Hoytfeldt says.

Read the full answer from the State Department at the bottom of the issue

October meeting: This photo is from a meeting between Taliban leaders and Western diplomats in Doha, Qatar in October. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms to VG that it participated in this meeting.

This needs to be discussed

VG understands that this will be on the agenda during the three-day visit to Norway:

  1. Meetings with representatives of human rights organizations, women’s rights advocates and Afghan media representatives.
  2. Meetings with special representatives for Afghanistan from Norway, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the European Union and the United States of America.
  3. Bilateral meetings with Norwegian diplomats, where the rights and education of girls and women, and the rights of minorities, are included in the programme.
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Norway in Doha: VG has received confirmation from the Foreign Ministry that Norwegian Special Representative Kjell-Gunnar Eriksen, right in the photo with a face mask, is on his way to the meeting with the Taliban. With other Western diplomats in October.

These are from Norway

The State Department secretly worked for a long time to put the plan into action. The focus of the planning was Norway’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Ole A. Lindemann, who is based in Doha but has been in Kabul in recent days.

Former Special Envoy to Afghanistan and current Ambassador to Pakistan Per Albert Elsas also played an important role.

But neither Lindemann nor Elsas participates in the Norway meetings, as did Special Representative for Afghanistan Kjell Gunnar Eriksen, who has already held meetings with the Taliban in Doha. The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vebjørn Dysvik, is also part of the Norwegian delegation, as VG knows.

It has not yet been confirmed who is participating from the Taliban and Afghan civil society.

The reason these sensitive meetings are being held in Norway in particular is that Norwegian diplomats had a long meeting A prominent role in the Taliban negotiations.

In October last year, VG received the first confirmation that such a crucial meeting took place in Oslo in the spring of 2015, at which the Taliban sat around the table for the first time with prominent female activists.

This meeting laid the groundwork for the Taliban in June 2015 He returned to Norway to participate in the meetings of the Oslo Forum.

The exiled Afghans are divided

VG understands that Norway will not make an immediate request that the Taliban agree to democratic elections, as did the Afghan ambassador to Norway, who does not recognize the Taliban, called him in VG.

Opinions about talks with the Taliban are divided among civil society activists in Afghanistan:

The international community has no choice but to cooperate with the Taliban, Activist Jamila Afghani explained this, who himself had to flee Kabul when the extremist group seized power, to VG last fall.

And so she agrees with the Norwegian Terje Waterdahl, who returned to Kabul this fall, and who urges the West to continue providing support to the Afghan Taliban, Because the choice is much worse.

But support for attempts at dialogue with the Taliban is controversial, even among evacuees Afghan human rights activists.

A group of four Afghan activists who met Prime Minister Erna Solberg this fall had a very different message: You can’t trust the TalibanActivists said.

Mina Rafik, President of the Association Afghan Norwegians for Enlightenment and ProgressAnd It was heavily criticized in the newspaper Utrop Towards the meeting scheduled for the end of the week.

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Afghan expert Christian Berg Harpviken says the need for dialogue with the Taliban is enormous. It is believed that the group may be willing to meet certain Western requirements. NTB writes.

“Apart from the ongoing dialogue in Qatar, this is the first publicly confirmed meeting that I know of outside of Afghanistan,” he told NTB.

He says he thinks the group is willing to negotiate, perhaps especially when it comes to opening upper secondary schools for women. This comes against the background of the unstable humanitarian and economic situation in the country, and that the Taliban may fear the presence of armed opposition in the country that could receive external support.

The other demands, like a more inclusive government, I think are much longer for the Taliban. Harpviken says they do not respect democracy as a form of government.

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He believes that the most important short-term goal is to ensure that emergency aid can reach the country.

– There is no indication that the Taliban will be recognized in the foreseeable future, but it is possible to have a dialogue about what is expected of them and make it possible to provide assistance. Even if they are not recognized, Harpviken says, the truth is that the Taliban are responsible in Afghanistan.

Here is what the State Department writes about the meetings:

And in Oslo, the Taliban will meet with representatives of the Norwegian authorities and several allied countries. There will also be meetings between the Taliban delegation and other Afghans. These have backgrounds from various fields and include women leaders, journalists, and people who work with, among others, human rights, humanitarian, economic, social and political issues.

Afghanistan suffers from drought, epidemics, economic collapse and the effects of years of conflict. 24 million people are acutely food insecure and are not sure how to get enough food. It is reported that one million children may die of starvation. The United Nations estimates that famine will affect more than half the population this winter and that 97 percent of the population may fall below the poverty line this year.

Norway continues to engage in dialogue with the Taliban to advance human rights, women’s participation in society, and strengthen humanitarian and economic efforts in Afghanistan to support the Afghan people. Earlier this week, a Norwegian delegation visited Kabul for talks on the precarious humanitarian situation in the country.

Humanitarian aid is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient. We must avoid the collapse of basic services such as health and education. We must support the livelihoods of families and communities. The foreign minister says he could limit the number of people who need humanitarian assistance.

A feature of Norway’s work for peace and reconciliation is our desire to talk to all sides. Norway has been in dialogue with the Taliban for many years.”

Red with Taliban demands

This is requested by the Red Chief, Björnard Moxness. This weekend’s meeting with the Taliban used to make demands for Bringing former defense personnel to Norway.

– It is important that the government imposes very strict demands on the Taliban regime to respect human rights. But the government must also find a solution to save the people now at risk due to Taliban control, and give the United States a clear message to stop using hunger as a weapon against the Afghan people, Moxness told VG.

It is a shame for Norway that our authorities have failed the Afghans who worked with the Norwegian armed forces and the Norwegian state. Direct talks with the Taliban are a golden opportunity to find a solution and save these people, so we are concerned that the Secretary of State did not mention them at all.