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Afghan delegation attends forum in Norway

(Last Updated On: June 17, 2015)

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Afghanistan foreign ministry on Tuesday confirmed that an Afghan government delegation attended a forum in Norway to negotiate with Taliban, but yet is not clear whether the two sides met or not. 
The foreign ministry declared that the current war is one of the subjects of the negotiation which will be discussed among the influential figures of the world. 
The two sides are attending the Oslo Forum, a two-day informal gathering of diplomats hosted by Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said that it was up to the Afghan authorities and the Taliban to comment on the scope of the talks and any possible meetings they have.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was earlier quoted that the group was invited two weeks ago to attend, but he could not confirm that representatives of the insurgents would in fact take part.
Officials from the Afghan government who are attending the forum include Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai among six others.
The Oslo Forum says it is a “unique opportunity for senior conflict mediators, high-level decision makers and other major actors in peace processes to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on their own and others’ practice in a discreet setting and informal atmosphere.”
Last month, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) facilitated talks between some former Afghan Taliban leaders and the Afghan government in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi.
Earlier in June, officials from the Afghan Taliban held informal talks in Norway with another Afghan delegation comprising female parliamentarians and women’s rights advocates.
This is the second time the Taliban will attend meetings in Norway. Taliban leaders sat face-to-face with Afghan women lawmakers and members of the civil society in Oslo earlier this month.
This comes as the Afghanistan High Peace Council, the official body appointed to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, is reportedly worried about their diminished role in the Norway talks.

Reported by Rafi Sidiqi

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