Oslo talks to 'transform atmosphere of war' - Taliban
The Taliban intends to have good terms with the West as the latter withholds funds from the country ravaged by economic and humanitarian crises.
A Taliban delegation arrived Saturday in Norway for three days of talks with Western diplomats and members of Afghan civil society, which the Afghan authority hopes would "help transform the atmosphere of war" in their country.
15 Taliban representatives have landed in the Norweigan capital on Saturday evening. The delegation is headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi.
This is the first Afghan delegation to hold official talks with the West on European soil since the US withdrawal from the country, which lasted for two decades.
"The Islamic Emirate has taken steps for meeting the demands of the Western world," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
The spokesperson added that the Afghan government hopes to strengthen its relations through diplomacy with all the countries, including European countries and the West in general."
The Taliban want to "transform the atmosphere of war... into a peaceful situation," he stressed.
The talks will kick off on Sunday with civil society Afghan representatives.
On Monday, the talks will be at the state level, as the Taliban will meet with US, French, British, German, Italian, and EU representatives, and on Tuesday, the talks will exclusively be with Norweigian officials.
The talks will focus on human rights and humanitarian aid as a poverty crisis deepens, which is exacerbated by Western sanctions and the US seizing some $9.5 billion in Central Bank assets.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have also suspended activities in Afghanistan. The two bodies have withheld aid as well as $340 million in reserves issued by the IMF in August.
UN chief Antonio Guterres had urged Washington and the World Bank to take action and unfreeze the Afghan funds they have been holding since the Taliban came back to power.
The country is nearing economic collapse as the West withholds the country's funds following its occupation of Afghanistan.
An estimated 4.7 million people will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022, including 1.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition, aid agencies say.
The West seems to be more concerned with recognizing the Taliban than unfreezing aid to the Afghan people, as Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said the meetings "do not represent a legitimization or recognition of the Taliban."
"But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country. We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster," he noted.
The Taliban requested essential humanitarian relief without "political bias" in early January, stressing that recent snowfall and rains have exacerbated the suffering of Afghanistan’s people.
The United Nations Security Council had unanimously adopted a resolution facilitating humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in December, but it seems to be ignored by the West.