Taliban, US hold first high-level meeting in Doha

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Taliban delegates meet with Qatar delegates in Doha, Qatar, in this handout photo uploaded to social media, Oct. 9, 2021. (Reuters Photo)
Taliban delegates meet with Qatar delegates in Doha, Qatar, in this handout photo
uploaded to social media, Oct. 9, 2021. (Reuters Photo)

 Representatives from the Taliban and the U.S. delegations ended their first high-level meeting after the pullout in Doha, Qatar, Al-Jazeera reported Sunday.

The meeting tackled bilateral relations between Kabul and Washington, the implementation of the Doha agreement, the humanitarian aid, and the Afghan frozen assets by the U.S., said Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister in the interim Taliban cabinet.

“We clearly told them that trying to destabilize the government in Afghanistan is good for no one,” Muttaqi told Afghan state news agency Bakhtar after the talks.

A senior U.S. official said the meeting with the Taliban delegation did not raise the issue of recognition of the Taliban government.

The Qatari authorities have yet to comment on the results of the Taliban-U.S. meeting.

Meanwhile, acting Minister of Information and Culture and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the Afghan delegation met with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and discussed their bilateral relations and the economic projects in Afghanistan.

The Taliban regained control of Kabul on Aug. 15 after the previous Western-backed administration collapsed and its officials fled the war-torn country.

The Taliban previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 when U.S.-led foreign forces invaded the country in search of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

The U.S.’ two-decade occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August that saw more than 124,000 civilians, including Americans, Afghans and others, being evacuated as the Taliban took over. But thousands of other U.S.-allied Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution were left behind.

Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large over Afghanistan. They are trying to formulate how to engage with the Taliban without granting it the legitimacy it seeks while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.

Many Afghans have started selling their possessions to pay for ever-scarcer food.

The departure of U.S.-led forces and many international donors robbed the country of grants that financed 75% of public spending, according to the World Bank.