Afghan, Taliban delegates attend Oslo talks to end conflict

Officials of Afghan government and Taliban attend international conference in Norway in efforts to end conflict

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban attended an international conference on Tuesday in Norway designed to put forward resolutions to end conflicts, but Oslo said there were no plans for formal peace talks between the two sides.

"There's no plan for formal peace talks [about Afghanistan] ... but if you are going to reach peace then those who disagree must talk together," Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende told reporters before the meeting commenced.

A spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said Kabul had sent a six-member delegation to the conference at Losby, east of Oslo.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a three-man delegation was attending the talks. He denied media reports that the two sides would hold peace talks to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. "The participants in this year's conference will express their views regarding the turmoil and problems in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan," Mujahid added.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi were also among about 150 people at the two-day meeting to exchange views about how to negotiate peace.

Norway had hosted informal talks in early June about women’s rights and education for girls in Afghanistan that involved both government and Taliban delegates.

The Afghan Taliban has often played down past meetings aimed at ending the 13-year-old war with the Afghan government.

The Afghan Taliban is a pro-Pashtun militant group founded in the early 1990s. It emerged during the Soviet War in Afghanistan in the 80s among many “mujahideen” factions and ruled majority of Taliban before being toppled by the US in 2001. It currently holds up to 60,000 fighters, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

TRTWorld and agencies