Afghan Taliban say informal talks with Afghan officials underway in Norway

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.