Afghan talks focus on aid, women's rights

Oslo: Three days of talks between the Taliban, Western diplomats and other delegates on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and human rights were wrapping up on Tuesday in Norway, with acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi praising the discussions, which he said "went very well".

The closed-door meetings in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital of Oslo came at a crucial time for Afghanistan, as freezing temperatures are compounding the misery from the country's downward economic spiral after the fall of the US-backed government and the Taliban takeover last summer.

"It was a very good trip. Such trips will bring us closer to the world," Muttaqi told The Associated Press.

Aid groups and international agencies estimate that about 23 million (2.3 crore) people, more than half the country, face severe hunger and nearly nine million (90 lakh) are on the brink of starvation. People have resorted to selling possessions to buy food, burning furniture for warmth and even selling their children.

Muttaqi said the Taliban government will do "its best to protect Afghanistan from any sorts of problems, attract more assistance, seeking solutions for the economic problems".

The Taliban are demanding that USD 10 billion frozen by the United States and other Western countries be released, but there is no agreement on that so far.

The United Nations has managed to provide some liquidity and allowed the Taliban administration to pay for imports, including


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