US officials meet Taliban representatives in Qatar

Biden administration continues efforts to arrange humanitarian aid while pressing for group to protect rights of vulnerable citizens

Taliban officials resumed talks on Tuesday with a US delegation in Doha. AFP

A US delegation engaged in a second day of talks with senior Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, the State Department announced.

Thomas West, the special representative for Afghanistan, led a senior inter-agency delegation including representatives from USAID, the Departments of State and Treasury as well as the intelligence community in meetings with the Taliban that began on Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The statement emphasised “the importance of the Taliban fulfilling its public commitment not to allow anyone to pose a threat to any country from the soil of Afghanistan, safe passage for US citizens and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment, the protection of the rights of all of Afghanistan’s citizens, including its women, girls, and minorities, and the safe release of hostage Mark Frerichs".

Mr Price also said that the delegation highlighted the international community’s aim of addressing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with the US delegation pledging to continue to support UN and other efforts to provide aid this coming winter.

“The United States remains committed to ensuring that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian support from the US government and international community while denying assets to sanctioned entities and individuals,” read the statement.

Mr West welcomed the Taliban’s follow-through on safe passage commitments and recognised improvements in providing all humanitarian workers safe and unimpeded access to communities in need.

The Taliban restated their pledge not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for extremist groups looking to launch attacks on other countries.

Updated: December 1st 2021, 12:03 AM