Norway has been involved in secret negotiation meetings between Afganistan and the Taliban, reports local news. Norway — which has always been seen as an enemy of the Taliban — has orchestrated negotiation meetings that has led to "the Taliban having been given an official political role" in Afganistan. Negotiations have also yield a deal that allowed the radical Islamic group to open an office in Qatar.
"We have played a key role in this process," Foreign Prime Minster, Barth Eide told state broadcaster NRK. "It has been a strictly confidential process but we can now reveal it."
Norway's Press asked Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide if he viewed it as "contradictory" that Norwegian forceses were fighting in Afganistan at the same time diplomats were working on getting the Taliban on the negotiating table. His response was that "it has been clear that a full military victory where the Taliban were removed from the face of the earth was impossible to achieve."
Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday to help restart talks on ending Afghanistan's 12-year-old war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a "just government" and end foreign occupation.
This comes as recent reports reveal that U.S and Taliban representatives are scheduled to "meet soon" for the first time to begin what are expected to be long negotiations for a peaceful settlement in the war in Afghanistan.
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist group which ruled in Afganistan from 1996-2001. They were removed from power after an American-led invasion. While in power, the Taliban enforced strict interpretations of Islamic law and were condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women.