(ANSA-AFP) - OSLO, 22 JAN - A Taliban delegation arrived in Norway today for three days of talks with Western diplomats and representatives of Afghan civil society in the hope, their spokesman said, of "changing the war atmosphere" in the country.
According to images from the Verdens Gang newspaper, a Norwegian government aircraft landed in the evening at Oslo international airport with fifteen representatives of the Islamist government including Foreign Minister Amir KhanMutaqqi. At the center of the talks was the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and respect for human rights, especially for women, placed as a condition for a possible return of international aid which financed 80% of the Afghan budget.
"The Islamic Emirate has taken steps to meet the demands of the Western world and we hope to strengthen our diplomatic relations with all countries, including European countries and the West in general," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP today. The Taliban want to "transform the warlike atmosphere (...) into a peaceful situation," he added.
These discussions "do not constitute legitimation or recognition of the Taliban", the head of the Norwegian diplomacy, Anniken Huitfeldt, insisted yesterday, while no country has yet recognized the Taliban government. "But we have to talk to the authorities who actually run the country. We can't let the political situation lead to an even greater humanitarian disaster," he stressed.(ANSA-AFP).