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US describes talks with Taliban as 'candid and professional'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US State Department said Sunday that this weekend's talks with representatives of the Taliban in Doha, Qatar were "candid and professional"

The US State Department official has described the talks with the Taliban in Qatar as "candid and professional,” following the US defeat in the 20-year war against Afghanistan where hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions more displaced.

US officials from the Biden administration on Sunday held their first face-to-face meeting with Taliban leaders since the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in late August.

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

Price said the US officials traveled to Doha to discuss security matters, human rights and safe passage for American citizens from the country which is now under the control of the Taliban who returned to power after defeating the foreign occupation forces.

The US spokesman claimed that there were talks about "including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society, but he could not confirm whether any agreements were made.

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

A previous statement from the Taliban's leadership 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.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said at the time that the Taliban leaders were committed to ensuring that terrorism does not again take root in Afghanistan.

 "Political issues were discussed in detail during the meeting and the Islamic Emirate considered full implementation of the Doha agreement as the best way of resolving problems and that the humanitarian assistance should not linked to political issues," he said on Sunday evening. 

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, despite the fact that no Afghan national was involved in the attacks. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans died in the US war of aggression on the country.

American forces occupied the country for about two decades on the pretext of fighting against the Taliban. But as the US forces left Afghanistan, the Taliban stormed into capital Kabul, weakened by continued foreign occupation.

In his first congressional testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee members on September 28, Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the war in Afghanistan a “strategic failure”. 

“There’s no way else to describe that," he added. 

He noted that possibly the US military’s biggest failure was to make the Afghan military overly dependent on an American presence and technology.

"It is clear. It is obvious to all of us, that the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted, with the Taliban in power in Kabul. The war was a strategic failure,” Miley told the committee next day.


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