Reena Amir’s hijab in a meeting with the Taliban in Oslo

The publication of a photo of Reena Amiri, the United States Representative for Women and Human Rights for Afghanistan wearing a headscarf in a meeting with Taliban representatives during the Oslo meeting, has provoked widespread reactions among Afghan and Iranian users on social networks.

The Taliban, which was able to enter Kabul without serious resistance from the Afghan army since mid-August 2021, was a guest of the Norwegian government for the first time last week to negotiate with European and American diplomats.

While no member of the international community has yet recognized the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, the presence of the Taliban in Norway and the acceptance of negotiations with representatives of this group, for a large part of the world’s public opinion, is a step to recognize the not so well-known rulers of Kabul’s return to power.

I asked Vida Saghri, an Afghan women’s rights activist, and Maryam Shahi, a Euronews reporter, about the US representative’s hijab in the meeting with the Taliban in Oslo. Ms. Saghri says: “Rina Amiri is not a representative of Afghan women. The agent is acting on the axis of American interests in the Emirate system. Her coverage was not unrelated to shining a light on the good relations between American women and the Taliban.” Maryam Shahi also considers this cover as a possible sign of the US’s softening toward the rulers of Afghanistan who have returned to power: “This behavior is perhaps a form of showing the strain of the United States against the Taliban… Of course, it is difficult to comment on this. Maybe they want to improve relations with the Taliban through this lens. We have to wait and see Rina Amiri’s future encounters.”

Pessimism towards this form of presence of Reina Amiri is expressed while she published a Twitter message about the pressure of the United States of America on the Taliban for the immediate release of “Tamana Periyani, Parwaneh Ebrahim Khel, Alia Azizi and others”. Ms. Amiri says that together with the US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, they asked the Taliban to stop attacking the protesters and arresting them.

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