Taliban delegation begins talks in Oslo

A Taliban delegation led by acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has started three days of talks in Oslo with Western government officials and Afghan civil society representatives.
Starting on Sunday, the closed-door meetings in the Norwegian capital will see Taliban representatives meeting with women’s rights activists and human rights defenders from Afghanistan and from the Afghan diaspora.
The delegation will be pushed on promises to uphold human rights in return for access to billions of dollars in frozen humanitarian aid, Al Jazeera has learned.
“The leverage the West has on the Taliban is nearly $10bn of Afghan money that is held predominantly in the United States,” Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Doha, said.
“Amir Khan Muttaqi is going to be trying to get some of that money back to pay civil servants’ salaries and to make sure that there is enough food in the country because the humanitarian situation has been getting quite desperate,” he said.
“The other aspect of this obviously is the promises that the Taliban has made when it comes to power on women’s rights, girls education, civil liberties, and that is something the Taliban has yet to deliver,” he added.
Obaidullah Baheer, a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera from the Afghan capital, Kabul, that just getting the Taliban to sit down and talk is progress.
“The reality is that the Taliban is new to the governance and there is an opportunity to mould them into something better,” he said.
“I know they have been rigid in some aspects, but with the right amount of international pressure and the right kind of activism within Afghanistan, the Taliban can be pushed towards specific actions.”
In their first visit to Europe since returning to power in August, the Taliban will meet Norwegian officials, as well as representatives of the US, France, the UK, Germany, Italy and the European Union. -AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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