Afghanistan Global

Norway Invites Taliban Officials to the Oslo Forum – A Growing Normalization of the Taliban Means Growing Danger for Afghan Women

At the invitation of the Norwegian government, a delegation of three officials from the civil service of the Taliban government are currently in Norway, attending the Oslo Forum. The goal of the meeting, set to take place over three days, is to discuss the major challenges facing Afghanistan with “representatives from other countries and Afghan civil society.” 

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the conference provides “a huge opportunity” to participate in dialogue that can resolve the country’s humanitarian crisis. 

While the intention may be to help the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, women’s rights activists argue that such a meeting will not help the precarious position of Afghan women. In particular, there has been growing scrutiny towards the decision to invite members of the government for fear of legitimizing Taliban control. Since this meeting comes at a time when the Taliban is seeking international recognition, the invitation to engage with other powerful players in negotiations would only solidify their influence.  

Normalizing the Taliban 

Despite Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt stating that the Taliban representatives from Afghanistan “are not from the political leadership of the Taliban,” others argue that these representatives are “second-level” Taliban leaders, holding significant positions within the Taliban heirarchy. In either case, the invitation extended to these representatives contributes to normalize the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and on the global stage. 

As explained by women’s rights activist Laila Bssim, meetings like the Oslo Forum “have not had and will not have a benefit for the people of Afghanistan, particularly for the women in Afghanistan who are deprived of all types of rights.” Instead, the greater international recognition of the Taliban that results from such meetings would reduce the leverage that the international community and Afghan women have to advocate for their rights. Losing such leverage risks increased restrictions on women’s rights and less support in their fight against such control. Furthermore, it would prevent greater criticism of the abuses they face to check back on such restrictions. 

A Grim Future for Afghan Women

Ultimately, the attendance of these representatives from Afghanistan to the Oslo Forum indicates a grim future for the rights of Afghan women. As many activists and Afghan women have indicated, it will be more important than ever to avoid normalizing relations with the Taliban in order to support the rights of Afghan women. 

While no country has officially recognized the Taliban government, over a dozen countries, including Qatar, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, Turkey, and the UAE  have welcomed the Taliban diplomats and handed over control of the Afghanistan embassies in their respective nations.


ToloNews 06/14/2023; Khaama 06/14/2023; UN

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