Sat, 21 May 2022

Washington [US], January 28 (ANI): Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the UK and the US met in Oslo on January 24 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, including sessions with representatives of the Taliban and civil society actors.

In a joint statement, the Western envoys stressed the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and highlighted necessary steps to help alleviate the suffering of Afghans across the country.

Participants recognized steps taken to ease access for humanitarian workers, male and female, while also expressing concern that there are still certain impediments in place, and participants also reiterated the importance of swiftly removing all conditions and obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid, the statement added.

They raised the importance of respect for human rights and the strong need for an inclusive and representative political system to ensure stability and a peaceful future for Afghanistan.

The Special Representatives urged the Taliban to do more to stop the alarming increase of human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, media crackdowns, extra-judicial killings, torture and prohibitions on women and girls' education, employment and freedom to travel without a male escort.

"Noted with grave concern the absence from, and limitations on access to, secondary schools for girls in many parts of the country and underscored the importance of higher education for women as well as job opportunities for women in all fields," the joint statement read.

During the meeting, the envoys made it clear that their meetings with the Taliban in no way implied any sense of official recognition or legitimization of the interim government announced by the Taliban in September 2021.

The talks in Oslo came about in response to a request from a number of Afghan organisations and in consultation with Western allies.

On Sunday, an all-day meeting took place between the Taliban delegation and other Afghans from a variety of backgrounds. These included women leaders, journalists and people working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues.

On Monday, meetings took place between the Taliban and special representatives for Afghanistan from Norway and other Western countries.

Afghanistan is contending with drought, a pandemic, an economic collapse and the effects of years of conflict. Some 24 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity.

According to United Nations estimates, more than half the population will be facing famine this winter and 97 per cent of the population could fall below the poverty line this year. (ANI)

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