TALIBAN DELEGATION TO TRAVEL TO NORWAY FOR AID TALKS
Representatives of Afghanistan's Taliban will arrive in Norway for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
The Taliban representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from January 23 to 25.
"These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country," Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement on Friday.
"We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster," she said.
Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year's Taliban takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security.
"Meetings will also take place between the Taliban delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues," Norway said.
On the brink of famine
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2020 led international donors to immediately suspend most nonhumanitarian funding and freeze billions of dollars’ worth of assets.
As a result, most health clinics have closed and the economy has spiraled downward.
The country is currently facing an ongoing drought and hunger crisis and a possible fourth wave of Covid-19.
Half the country’s population now needs humanitarian assistance to survive, with more than twenty million people on the brink of famine - double the number from last year.