Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

The United States has agreed to provide humanitarian aid, but refused to give political recognition to Afghanistan’s new rulers, the Taliban said.

The statement came at the end of the first direct talks between the former enemies since the chaotic withdrawal of coalition troops in late August.

The US statement was less final, saying only the two sides “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian aid directly to the Afghan people”.

The Taliban said talks in Doha, Qatar, “went well,” with Washington releasing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to link that aid to formal recognition of the Taliban.

The United States made it clear that the talks were in no way a preamble to the recognition of the Taliban, who swept to power in mid-August after the government collapsed.

Ned Price
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the treatment of Afghan women and girls was part of the discussions.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque / Pool, filfoto)

US State Department spokesman Ned Price called the discussions “honest and professional”, with the US side reiterating that the Taliban would be judged on their actions, not just their words.

“The US delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for US citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society,” he said in a statement.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen also said the group’s interim foreign minister assured the United States during the negotiations that the Taliban were obliged to see that Afghan land was not used by extremists to launch attacks on other countries.

On Saturday, however, the Taliban ruled out cooperating with Washington to include Islamic State, which is becoming increasingly active in Afghanistan.

IS, an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including an explosion in an Afghan mosque that killed more than 40 people. Washington regards IS as its biggest terrorist threat originating from Afghanistan.

“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said, referring to the group under a different name when asked if the Taliban would work with the United States to contain it.

During the meeting, it was expected that US officials would pressure the Taliban to let Americans and others leave Afghanistan.

In their statement, the Taliban said without elaborating that they would “facilitate the principled movement of foreign nationals”.

AP

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