US and Taliban discuss aid in first direct talks since US exit

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Taliban rulers says the US has decided to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

This was contained in a statement at the end of their first direct talks, in Qatar, since US troops left Afghanistan in August.

BBC reports that apart from aid, the talks concentrated on containing extremist groups and the evacuation of US citizens.

US officials characterized the discussions as candid and professional, but reinforced that the Taliban would be judged by its actions.

Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi

Nexus News learned that the US contends the meeting did not amount to recognition of the Taliban.

According to a statement published on Sunday night, the Taliban said: “US representatives stated that they will give humanitarian assistance to Afghans and will provide facilities for other humanitarian organisations to deliver aid.”

It put in that it would “co-operate with charitable groups in delivering the humanitarian assistance to those deserving transparently, and will facilitate the principled movement of foreign nationals”.

But the US has yet to formally corroborate the Taliban claim on aid.

Spokesperson Ned Price said that the two sides had discussed the provision “of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people,” without providing further
details.

“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.

The talks were held as Afghanistan faces what aid workers fear is a severe humanitarian crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned at a donor conference last month in Geneva that the poverty rate was spiralling and public services were near to collapse.

After the Taliban captured Kabul on 15 August, the US froze $10bn of the country’s central bank assets

The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen recently reported from the Afghan capital, for the poor in Kabul, the priority is staving off starvation.

At the Qatar meeting, the Taliban ruled out co-operation with Washington on tackling the activities of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K).

However, the Taliban’s spokesperson in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, told the Associated Press that the regime is “able to tackle Daesh independently”.

Mr Shaheen’s comments follows an ISIS-K suicide bomb attack on a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people on Friday in the deadliest attack since US troops left the country.

More than 100 others were injured in the blast at the Said Abad mosque, used by the minority Shia Muslim community.

 

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