On Sunday, a delegation of 15 Taliban men landed on Norwegian soil. The visit from the Islamist organization has caused a stir in political Norway.
Today, the Afghan Islamists’ acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met the Norwegian Secretary of State Henrik Thune (Labor) Taliban, on behalf of the government.
In between the talks, NRK received an interview with Muttaqi.
When NRK confronts the foreign minister that many in Norway are angry because a terrorist group has been invited to Norway, Muttaqi replies that he “wish there was a definition of terrorism in the world”. He also suggests that the Taliban “only fought for freedom”.
– You have sent hundreds of suicide bombers to Kabul city and civilians have lost their lives. This is what they call terrorism, counters NRK’s reporter.
– If forces come from another country and invade Norway, will not the Norwegian people fight against them? answers the Taliban top.
- See parts of the interview with Muttaqi here:
Rejects that women are beaten
Several of the Taliban’s interlocutors have demanded that girls in Afghanistan be allowed to go to school after 7th grade. That is not the case today.
Muttaqi first claims that the women have set up cameras in advance and provoked the soldiers to get a reaction. Then comes another possible explanation.
– When I see pictures of my soldier attacking women in this way, I doubt if it could be one of ours. Or if someone pretends to be us.
– So you mean their soldiers have not beaten women?
– Our soldiers have been ordered not to beat anyone without a trial. They have orders that offenders should be treated with respect, taken to the police station and brought to justice within 72 hours. It is the court that will decide the person’s fate.
Happy with the trip
Muttaqi also expresses that he is satisfied with the trip to Norway, and says that especially the talks with the USA have been good. Tuesday night they left Oslo and traveled back to Kabul.
The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August last year, after the last US forces had left the country. Muttaqi believes the way in which the takeover took place shows that the Taliban can now be trusted.
However, many are very critical of the fact that the new government consists exclusively of men, and that several ethnic groups are not represented. Muttaqi rejects the criticism.
– Your opponents have not been given a single position?
– Show me the world … When Biden won the election, did he give a ministry to the Trump people? Why are such demands made on us that are not common elsewhere in the world?
Muttaqi stated earlier this week that the meeting in Norway has in itself been “an achievement”, “because you have had to share the stage with the world”. He was also confident of receiving support for Afghanistan’s humanitarian, health and education sectors as a result of the meetings.
In recent days, the Taliban have held talks with representatives of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and the EU. In addition, the Taliban had a meeting with Norwegian humanitarian organizations.
The leader of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, said on Tuesday that he received clear, binding promises from the Taliban that girls will receive education at all levels from March. Egeland also says that they promise that they will protect the minorities.
Muttaqi does not want to comment to NRK on whether any concrete promises have been made.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre rejected on Tuesday night that the meetings in Norway are a recognition of the organization.
In a joint statement posted on regjeringen.no Tuesday night, it is stated that the meeting in Norway was an “important opportunity to discuss urgent issues directly and lay the foundation for further discussions”.
The statement also states that the participants in the meeting recognize that cooperation is the solution to the problems in Afghanistan. The statement says nothing about specific obligations or agreements.