Tel Aviv [Israel], January 24 (ANI): The Taliban delegation which is visiting Norway's capital city of Oslo has drawn large-scale criticism from the world over.
Vas Shenoy, a political researcher, consultant, and entrepreneur who has worked in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for two decades, in a blog post in The Times of Israel, said that the Taliban delegation's visit to Oslo could set a dangerous precedent of legitimizing terrorists.
What in Norway is perceived as a pragmatic opportunity to provide aid, is perceived in Pakistan and Afghanistan as capitulation.
The Norwegians convening a formal meeting with a Taliban delegation while underlining that such a meeting does not signify recognition is a confusing move with mixed signals.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stressed that the visit was "not a legitimation or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to those who in practice govern the country today."
The statement in itself is contradictory. By accepting that the Taliban govern the country, the Foreign Minister has already provided tacit recognition, said Shenoy.
The Taliban is a terrorist organization, backed and controlled by Pakistan, which has no intention of making any obvious concessions, said Shenoy.
Their only objective is to achieve acceptance from western countries such that funds blocked by the US and other western powers are released.
The visit to Oslo to meet with representatives from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the European Union, for them, is akin to recognition.
Also, there is no representation from other members of Afghan society, political or civil, no members of the Ashraf Ghani government or any other Afghan leaders in exile have been invited.
This is another conference on Afghanistan where the only missing group is the Afghans themselves though various media articles state that "The Taliban delegation is also expected to meet Afghans from civil society, including women leaders and journalists, at a time when the freedoms of those living in Afghanistan are being increasingly curtailed.", not specifying who would be representing the interests of the Afghan people, reported The Times of Israel.
With the reopening of the EU Embassy in Kabul, this meeting is seen by the Taliban and their allies as the capitulation of the west to their Islamic victory. If there was any hope of laying down pre-conditions as a roadmap to aid, it has now been destroyed.
For Norway to maintain its position as a neutral arbiter, it was essential for pre-conditions to be laid down even for this meeting.
For aid and assistance to reach the Afghan people and not fund the Taliban's future jihad, it is essential that Norway set some basic conditions, one of which could be a monitoring mechanism that consists of eminent Afghans who represent all ethnicities.
Without a firm position, this visit of the Taliban to Oslo will end up destroying any hope for a peaceful future for Afghanistan and end up serving as propaganda for the Taliban's "victory", said Shenoy. (ANI)