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The Taliban Begin High-Level Talks with Western Officials

Taliban members are meeting with western authorities in Norway for the first time since the organization seized power in Afghanistan.

The three-day meeting will focus on human rights and the country’s humanitarian crises.

According to the United Nations, 95 percent of Afghans are malnourished.

Several demonstrations have taken place in Europe, with opposition stating that the meetings should not be given to the Taliban.

Taliban members met with human rights campaigners on Sunday, but the specifics of their conversations have not been released.

Jamila Afghani, a feminist activist, told the AFP news agency that the negotiators exhibited “goodwill.”

“Let’s see what their behaviors are based on what they say,” she stated.

The most important day of discussions is likely to be Monday, when Taliban representatives meet with Western diplomats. The organization plans to obtain access to billions of dollars in US bank accounts that have been blocked.

Unemployment and food costs have risen in Afghanistan, while the value of the country’s currency has fallen and banks have imposed cash withdrawal limitations.

Hunger threatens 55 percent of the population, according to the United Nations.

“We are urging that they unfreeze Afghan assets and not penalize regular Afghans as a result of the political discourse,” Taliban representative Shafiullah Azam told the Associated Press.

“I believe it is time for the international world to help Afghans rather than penalize them because of their political differences, because of the famine and the harsh winter.”

Western envoys are likely to stress the significance of human rights and a more inclusive Taliban rule.

Since assuming control, the Taliban have ordered most female employees to stay at home, while secondary schools are reserved for males and male teachers. Several women have been singled out for speaking out against the plan. Some people have gone missing, and the Taliban has denied any participation. The Taliban, however, informed reporters that the reports were false.

Since the Taliban took control, human rights advocates and journalists have been attacked as well.

Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Monday that girls would be able to attend school starting in March. He also disputed that the Taliban was detaining a group of women who were demonstrating for their rights.

No country has recognized the new Afghan administration as of yet.

The meetings, according to Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt, “do not reflect a legitimization or acceptance of the Taliban.”

“However, we must speak with the country’s de facto authority,” she stated.

According to the BBC’s Lyse Doucet, the project has split Afghans: some emphasize the need of engaging the Taliban, while others argue that the Taliban should not be allowed to European cities while consistently violating human rights at home.

Over the weekend, a number of protests took place around Europe.

One demonstrator in Oslo told the AFP news agency that the talks were “laughing in the face” of Afghans who had lost family members.

“You don’t talk to terrorists,” she stated emphatically.

Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper is a global reporter for TheOptic, focusing on bringing insights and developments for global and local breaking news daily. With almost seven years of experience covering topics from all over the world, Brian strives to make sure you stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world.
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