Norwegian diplomat meets with Taliban official in Kabul

KABUL — Paul Klouman Bekken, the Chargé d’affaires of Norway for Afghanistan, met with the Taliban’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Stanekzai, in Kabul on Tuesday.

The Taliban released a statement following the meeting, noting that Bekken acknowledged “advancements in Afghanistan’s stability, security, and economy”, and commended the efforts “in managing and facilitating the return of refugees”.

Stanekzai highlighted the Taliban’s management of the returnee process, including providing transportation, shelter, food, clothing, and health services. He emphasized, however, the need for further international cooperation.

The meeting also included discussions on various bilateral and regional issues, according to the Taliban’s statement.

This occurs against the backdrop of Pakistan’s ongoing deportation of Afghan migrants. With nearly 1,000 Afghans being deported daily, and over half a million repatriated in the last two months, there are growing concerns about their wellbeing during Afghanistan’s harsh winter.