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Taliban Government Has First Substantive Negotiations in Europe

Jan. 23, 2022 (EIRNS)—Afghanistan’s Taliban government representatives began three days of meetings on Jan. 23 in Oslo with European and U.S. government officials, in which they will again demand that Afghanistan’s $9.5 billion in seized financial reserves be returned to the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank, to help reverse universal poverty of the population and stop mass death from hunger and cold. Although Taliban representatives have had numerous contacts and negotiations with the U.S., and with Afghanistan’s neighbors in South and Central Asia, with China, and Russia, this is the first substantive negotiation with European officials about the disastrous human suffering in the country due to U.S. and international aid and liquidity sanctions. Associated Press reported the start of the meetings in “Taliban Talks in Norway Raise New Debate about Recognition.”

The Afghan delegation is headed by the acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. There is an American delegation there, led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West. But despite the pressure which has been put on the Biden Administration by mobilizations in Congress and think-tanks in which the Schiller Institute has played an important role, West sounds like he will attempt to stick to poor excuses for the sanctions. His statement released by the State Department said the United States plans in Oslo “to discuss ‘the formation of a representative political system; responses to the urgent humanitarian and economic crises; security and counterterrorism concerns; and human rights, especially education for girls and women,’ according to a statement released by the U.S. State Department,” reported AP.

On Jan. 22, seven former U.K. government or UN officials issued a statement, calling on the British government to convene an international conference for aid to Afghanistan, on the principle of aid for humanitarian needs and to reverse poverty, but no investment in infrastructure and development projects under the Taliban government: Valerie Amos former UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and secretary of state, Department for International Development; David Richards former chief of the defense staff; Peter Ricketts former national security adviser and permanent secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Mark Sedwill former national security adviser, cabinet secretary and ambassador to Kabul; Nicholas Kay former ambassador to Kabul; Mark Lowcock former UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and permanent secretary, Department for International Development; and Tom Fletcher former ambassador and No. 10 foreign policy adviser.

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