World

Afghan Taliban say informal talks with Afghan officials underway in Norway

  • FILE - In this Sunday, July 31, 2011 file photo, Taliban fighters hold their heavy and light weapons before surrendering them to Afghan authorities in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban representatives have been meeting this week with female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators in the Norwegian capital Oslo, a Taliban spokesman and the Afghan president's office said on Friday, June 5, 2015. In an email to media organizations, the Taliban's Zabihullah Mujahid said the discussions were informal and could not be categorized as "peace talks." (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, July 31, 2011 file photo, Taliban fighters hold their heavy and light weapons before surrendering them to Afghan authorities in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban representatives have been meeting this week with female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators in the Norwegian capital Oslo, a Taliban spokesman and the Afghan president's office said on Friday, June 5, 2015. In an email to media organizations, the Taliban's Zabihullah Mujahid said the discussions were informal and could not be categorized as "peace talks." (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, April 7, 2015 file photo, Executive Director for Afghan women’s Network (AWN), Hasina Safi, center, raises her hand to ask a question during a press conference by Amnesty International announcing their report on threats to women activists in Kabul, Afghanistan. In an unprecedented step, representatives of the Taliban met this week with a delegation of female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators, including Safi, according to the Afghan government and the Taliban. The meetings, which conclude Friday, June 5, 2015 in the Norwegian capital Oslo, are part of a long-term Afghan peace initiative sponsored by Norway.  (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, April 7, 2015 file photo, Executive Director for Afghan women’s Network (AWN), Hasina Safi, center, raises her hand to ask a question during a press conference by Amnesty International announcing their report on threats to women activists in Kabul, Afghanistan. In an unprecedented step, representatives of the Taliban met this week with a delegation of female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators, including Safi, according to the Afghan government and the Taliban. The meetings, which conclude Friday, June 5, 2015 in the Norwegian capital Oslo, are part of a long-term Afghan peace initiative sponsored by Norway. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014 file photo, Afghan lawmaker Shukria Barakzai talks on her mobile phone at a government hospital she was taken into after a suicide attack targeting her motorcade in Kabul, Afghanistan. In an unprecedented step, representatives of the Taliban met this week with a delegation of female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators, including Barakzai , according to the Afghan government and the Taliban. The meetings, which conclude Friday, June 5, 2015 in the Norwegian capital Oslo, are part of a long-term Afghan peace initiative sponsored by Norway.  (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014 file photo, Afghan lawmaker Shukria Barakzai talks on her mobile phone at a government hospital she was taken into after a suicide attack targeting her motorcade in Kabul, Afghanistan. In an unprecedented step, representatives of the Taliban met this week with a delegation of female Afghan lawmakers and peace negotiators, including Barakzai , according to the Afghan government and the Taliban. The meetings, which conclude Friday, June 5, 2015 in the Norwegian capital Oslo, are part of a long-term Afghan peace initiative sponsored by Norway. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)  (The Associated Press)

A spokesman for the Taliban says its representatives are in Norway for meetings with Afghan officials.

In an email to media organizations Friday, Zabihullah Mujahid says the discussions were informal and cannot be categorized as "peace talks."

The meeting is the third face-to-face contact between Taliban and Afghan officials in recent months, though both sides stressed their informality.

An Afghan official, speaking off the record, confirmed that parliamentarians Fawzia Koofi and Shukria Barakzai are participating. Both are high-profile women's rights advocates.

The official said the pair were "not official delegates" but called them "independent representatives from parliament."

Members of the government's High Peace Council are also in Norway for the talks, he says.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has prioritized bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table and ending their insurgency.