Optimism in Oslo.. Afghan government listens to activists, Norway considers recognition of the Taliban premature

Video duration 02 minutes 01 seconds

Talks on Afghanistan are continuing in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, with the participation of a delegation from the interim Afghan government with Afghan activists, and in the presence of Western officials. Despite the atmosphere of optimism, Norway confirmed that these talks do not mean recognition of the Taliban.

Headed by Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki, the Afghan Interim Government delegation visited Europe for the first time since the Taliban movement’s return to power in Afghanistan.

Shafie Azam, a member of the Afghan government delegation, told Al Jazeera that the delegation met – on the first day of the 3-day talks – activists and representatives of Afghan civil society and gave them a briefing on the internal situation and the positive security situation in the country.

Azam explained that the Afghan delegation discussed with the activists their concerns, and called on them to return to Afghanistan to benefit from the security situation and participate in building the country, stressing that the activists agreed to what the government offered, and that the two sides reached a joint statement.

For his part, the Undersecretary of the Afghan Ministry of Information and Government Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid published a tweet in which he stated that the participants in the talks stressed in a joint statement that “all Afghans must cooperate to improve the political, economic and security conditions in the country.”

He explained that the meeting agreed that “the only solution to Afghanistan’s problems is through mutual understanding and cooperation.”

The Taliban-led government confirmed in previous statements that its first official talks with the West on European soil would help “change the atmosphere of war”.

On the other hand, activist Jamila Afghani said in a press statement, “It was a positive ice-breaking meeting. The Taliban representatives demonstrated good faith… Let’s see if their words are accompanied by actions.”

Opponents of the talks demonstrate in front of the hotel (Reuters)

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In turn, Director of Reconciliation for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Lisa Goldin, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that it is too early to talk about recognition of the Taliban in the current period, and that the priority is to resolve the acute humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Goldin added that the meetings between the Afghan government delegation and representatives of civil society were exploratory talks, with the aim of reaching a solution to the political issues.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Anneken Hoetfeldt also stressed that the talks “will not constitute legitimization or recognition of the Taliban.”

“But we have to talk to the authorities who are de facto running the country. We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe,” she added.

During the talks, dozens of people demonstrated in front of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, chanting that the Taliban were “terrorist”.

On Friday, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry announced that it had invited representatives of the Taliban-led government, and that special representatives from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the European Union would attend the meetings.

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