Jan Egeland: Sanctions against the Taliban must end

Jan EgelandPhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB
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According to Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the economic sanctions against Afghanistan are as devastating as the Taliban regime’s conduct.

“The sanctions are holding us back. We can not save lives without lifting the sanctions. They are harming the same people that NATO spent billions of dollars defending until August,” Egeland told the press outside Soria Moria.

The NRC is among several aid organizations meeting with the Taliban for talks on Tuesday. The meetings started at 1:30 PM.

“Those are the civilian teachers and nurses who now do not receive a salary. Today we are being held back as much by the sanctions as by the Taliban’s wage-related problems,” he said.

Criticism

Several people have criticized the decision to invite the Taliban to Oslo for talks. Egeland has a message for the critics: 

“We must talk to those who have control in countries where people are in need (of help). We talk to those who make it possible for us to save lives, we do that everywhere,” he added.

Egeland called the talks “a step in the right direction.”

– Can we trust the Taliban?

“They are the actual authorities in the country. And they see how the economy is now about to collapse and the enormous need to bring in aid from western countries,” Egeland answered.

Access to education for girls

Education for girls in Afghanistan is one of the things that must be put in place after the Taliban meetings, Egeland believes.

“For us, it is a fundamental principle that girls should have exactly the same access to education, work, and community involvement as boys,” he said.

Egeland emphasized that the NRC cannot provide education for boys in Afghanistan if it is not allowed to educate girls as well.

“It is a principle for us. We teach for boys and girls at the primary school level but not at the upper secondary school level. It’s a tragedy. We must have both (boys and girls) in school,” Egeland concluded.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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