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Foreign ministry holds talks with Taleban

Switzerland's foreign ministry has held informal talks with Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement, which is seeking to end years of diplomatic isolation from western countries.

This content was published on February 7, 2000 - 23:39

Switzerland's foreign ministry has held informal talks with Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement, which is seeking to end years of diplomatic isolation from western countries. A ministry spokesman said that the Swiss delegation, led by the ambassador, Christian Blickenstorfer (pictured), met the Taleban representatives on Thursday.

The ministry added that the meeting had allowed both sides to exchange information. As well as finding out about the situation in Afghanistan, the Swiss diplomats expressed their "concerns" over reported violations of human rights, along with religious extremism and the catastrophic state of the country's economy.

The Taleban want to turn Afghanistan into the world's purest Islamic state and have banned women from most paid work in the areas they control.

Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have extended full diplomatic relations to the Taleban, which controls 90 percent of Afghanistan. Western countries have accused the movement of supporting terrorism and producing drugs to finance weapons purchases.

From staff and wire reports

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