Germany on Monday condemned the appearance of a Taliban official at a mosque in Cologne, with the interior minister demanding an explanation from the Turkish group that runs the Islamic website.
Abdul Bari Omar, who is an official with the Taliban-run health authority in Afghanistan, attended the mosque to address a conference organized by an Afghan association in the city.
“The appearance of a Taliban representative in Cologne is completely unacceptable and must be strongly condemned.
“No one should give radical Islamists a platform in Germany,” said Interior Minister Nancy Feiser.
He urged Ditib, the Turkish-Islamic association that runs the mosque in the city’s Chorweiler district, to explain “how it was possible to use the room” in this way.
The Ditib administration said it had no prior knowledge of the Taliban official’s planned appearance.
“Contrary to the original convention, it was turned into a political event and a speaker unknown to us was invited,” he said.
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Ditib rejected “any closeness — even spiritual — to the Taliban.”
The foreign ministry said the Taliban official had not obtained a visa to enter Germany.
He was apparently able to travel to the country using a Schengen visa issued by a “neighboring country,” he added.
Local media reported that Omar had arrived from the Netherlands, where he attended a World Health Organization conference in early November.
Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, billions of dollars in aid and assets have been frozen by the West, in what the United Nations has described as an “unprecedented fiscal shock” to Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy .
Ditib — the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs — is one of the largest Islamic organizations in Germany.
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