The appearance of a high-ranking Taliban official in a Cologne mosque sparked massive criticism – including from the highest levels. Even Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke up and demanded clarification: “The appearance of the Taliban representative in Cologne is completely unacceptable and should be strongly condemned,” the SPD politician told the German Press Agency in Berlin on Saturday. “Nobody is allowed to offer radical Islamists a platform in Germany.”

The Taliban are responsible for massive human rights violations, Faeser continued. “In Germany we protect many refugees from Afghanistan from the oppressive rule of the Taliban. That’s why Taliban officials have absolutely no place in Germany.” The responsible authorities investigated the case intensively. The umbrella organization Ditib, to which the Cologne mosque belongs, is expected to provide “a complete and very quick explanation of how the appearance in Cologne came about.”

The umbrella organization Ditib distanced itself from the appearance in the prayer house in the Chorweiler district on Thursday. A cultural association organized the event, which was announced as religious, and did not adhere to a contractual agreement. Ditib first gave the name of the association as “Afghan Cultural Association Cologne Meschenich”. The club then declared that it was not involved in the event and that the club’s name had been used improperly. On Saturday evening, Ditib corrected its information. In fact, the hall was made available to people who were Ditib’s board members of the “Kulturverein der Kunar Jugend e.V.” known and acting on their behalf.

The domestic policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Alexander Throm, called it “unbearable” that a Taliban official “gives a lecture in Germany and can spread his inhumane ideology.” Ditib is also responsible for this. It is also “another indictment” for the federal government that the Taliban official was able to enter the country.

According to a spokesman, the Federal Ministry of the Interior had no prior knowledge of the appearance. He told the dpa that they had taken note of Ditib’s public statements about this and would press for further clarification. “Everything else related to the performance is the subject of ongoing investigations.”

A Taliban official was also present at a World Health Organization conference held in The Hague from November 6th to 8th. Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said on Saturday via the X platform (formerly Twitter) that it is now being investigated how this was possible. According to Dutch media reports, it is said to be Abdul Bari Omar, head of the Afghan food control authority, the man who also appeared in the Cologne mosque on Thursday. The Foreign Office in Berlin condemned this appearance and stated that the trip had not been announced to the ministry.

The Dutch Health Minister had his photo taken with the Taliban representative at the conference. The photo had already been distributed via Kuipers regretted the photo together. He didn’t know who it was. “Of course I don’t want to be associated with this terrible regime in any way: I support human rights and especially women’s rights.”

The North Rhine-Westphalia State Chancellery also condemned the Taliban official’s appearance. “The fact that members of a radical organization like the Taliban spread their ideologies unfiltered on German soil is an unspeakable event,” a spokesman told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. On Saturday, the Düsseldorf Interior Ministry referred to an assessment by the Federal Prosecutor General: According to this, the Taliban, with their seizure of power in Afghanistan and the formation of a government in September 2021, are no longer a criminal or terrorist organization “from this point on.”

The spokeswoman for the NRW Ministry referred details about entry from Afghanistan to the federal authorities. The Foreign Office had made it clear that the federal government did not recognize the Taliban. “As long as the Taliban in Afghanistan blatantly trample on human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, there will be no normalization with the Taliban regime.”