Sunday, October 10, 2021

Taliban, US hold ‘candid and professional’ talks in Doha, discuss US humanitarian assistance to Afghans

Washington: The United States on Sunday held the first face-to-face meeting between senior US and Taliban officials, since the militant group retook power in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon said that the meeting was "candid and professional" and that the US side reiterated that the Taliban would be judged on their actions, not just their words.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US delegation in the weekend talks in Doha, Qatar, focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for US citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghans, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society, as reported by Reuters.

He said the two sides also discussed "the United States' provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people."

"The discussions were candid and professional with the US delegation reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words," Price said in a statement.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera report said that the Afghan delegation had described the two-day talks as “positive”.

According to the report, the Taliban hope the meeting paves the way for recognition of the Afghan government – not only by the United States, but the international community.

Also read: Taliban to resume issuing national identity cards and passports to Afghans soon

The Afghan delegation, led by the Afghan acting foreign minister, Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi, also came to Doha seeking financial assistance that comes with any sort of international recognition.

It said the minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, also said Washington would offer Afghans coronavirus vaccines and that the two sides discussed "opening a new page" between the two countries.

Biden administration officials told Reuters on Friday the US delegation would press the Taliban to release kidnapped American Mark Frerichs. Another top priority would be to hold the Taliban to their commitment not to allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for al Qaeda or other extremists.

The Afghan delegation has also asked the US to end economic sanctions and to “unfreeze” some $10bn worth of assets.

The Taliban announced its all-male Cabinet last month, but it has struggled to govern amid a liquidity crisis after it was cut off from the international financial institutions, such as IMF and World Bank.

(With inputs from agencies)  

from asianetnews

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