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Taliban, US conclude 2-day talks in Doha

Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (C) speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 14, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Representatives from the Taliban and the United States have concluded talks in Doha, Qatar, after discussing bilateral issues and evacuations.

The talks were their first face-to-face since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August.

Local media reporting from Doha said on Sunday that the Afghan delegation had described the two-day bilateral talks as "positive."

The Taliban said the talks "went well," with Washington freeing up the flow of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to link such assistance to the formal recognition of the Taliban.

The US side refused to grant political recognition to the country's new rulers, the Taliban said.

The Afghan delegation, led by Acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi, had come to Doha seeking US and international recognition, which could lead to international financial support.

In regard to the evacuation of Afghans and foreign nationals, the Taliban reiterated that they would "facilitate principled movement of foreign nationals."

US officials said the Doha talks were a continuation of "pragmatic engagements" with the group and "not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy" to the Taliban.

The US-Taliban agreement, negotiated in 2020, had called for a coalition government led by the government of Afghanistan, which rapidly collapsed on August 15. The then-President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in the face of lightning advances by the Taliban, which followed US President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw the US-led NATO troops.

"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 on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society," said Ned Price, spokesman for the US State Department.

Price said the Taliban would be judged based on their actions, not only their words.


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