Officials from Afghanistan’s Taliban administration travelled to Norway this week for meetings with civil society and diplomats at a peace forum, the Norwegian foreign minister said on Thursday.

The visit took place amidst a severe humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan following 20 years of war and as many countries have pulled back on aid after orders from the Taliban that stopped many Afghan female humanitarian staff from working.

“Norway invited three civil servant-level individuals working for the Afghan de facto authorities in Kabul to this year’s Oslo Forum. They met Afghan civil society and representatives from other countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt told Reuters.

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The two-day meeting near Oslo is an annual summit on conflict and peace diplomacy that ended Wednesday.

The Taliban administration has not been formally recognised by any foreign government since taking over the country in 2021 as foreign troops withdrew.

A U.N. official said the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Special Representative to Afghansitan Roza Otunbayeva attended the closed door meeting.

Though some senior Taliban leaders are normally prevented from leaving the country due to U.N. travel bans, other officials are able to travel or receive exemptions to do so and have held meetings with officials abroad including in Qatar, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

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In 2022, the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi attended a meeting in Oslo.

“Isolating Afghanistan now will be unfortunate, both for the Afghan people and for the international community. It could worsen the situation in Afghanistan, and it could let … groups such as the ISKP get a stronger foothold in the country. This would also pose a security risk for Europe,” Huitfeldt said, referring to Islamic State.

A spokesperson for the Taliban-run foreign ministry did not respond to request for comment. Afghan broadcaster Tolo News reported officials from the foreign, defence and interior ministries had travelled to Norway.

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