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Taliban delegation's visit to Norway prompts protest in Oslo

There was a small protest of Afghan citizens in Oslo ahead of the Taliban’s visit to the Norwegian capital on Sunday.

They’re against the delegation meeting with Norwegian authorities and representatives from the international community for talks.

It’s the first visit to the West since they took control of Kabul in August.

“We do not want the Taliban here in Norway. They do not represent us,” said Shahia Soltani an Afghan citizen and one of the demonstrators.

“The Taliban is on the blacklist for terrorists in the United States. So why should we invite and negotiate with them?” Soltani queried.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Friday that it has invited representatives of the Taliban to Oslo from January 23 to 25. Norwegian newspaper VG said special representatives from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the European Union were expected to take part.

The ministry did not comment on the newspaper’s report.

Discussions on girls’ education, and women’s rights will be top of the agenda.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs for Norway, Anniken Huitfeldt, said: “It does not in any way imply any recognition of the coup that took place. We will make strong demands on the Taliban, but we do not know if they will implement them afterwards.”

Since the hardline Islamists took power, girls’ education stopped in some parts of the country but last week they said it should begin again by March for all girls and women.

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban government spokesman said they are making moves to meet western requests.

“The Islamic Emirate has taken steps to meet the demands of the Western world and we hope to strengthen our relations through diplomatic ways with all countries, including the European countries and the West in general, and to transform the atmosphere of war, which we had previously, into a peaceful situation.”

The Taliban’s words will doubtless be contrasted with the reality on the ground in Afghanistan.

Concern has been expressed over the fate of a women’s rights activist and her three sisters who were arrested last week by the Taliban who are said to have raided their home and smashed their door in. An eyewitness said about 10 armed men, claiming to be from the Taliban intelligence department, carried out the raid on Wednesday night.

The activist, Tamana Zaryabi Paryani, was among about 25 women who took part in an anti-Taliban protest last Sunday against the compulsory Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for women.

A Taliban statement appeared to blame the incident on a recent women’s protest, saying insulting Afghan values will no longer be tolerated.

The Norwegian authorities have stressed the Taliban’s visit is not a legitimisation of the Taliban, who are expected to demand the release of $10 billion (€8.8 billion) in frozen assets.

Reference