Exclusive-U.S. Delegation to Meet Taliban in First High-Level Talks Since Pullout – Officials | Top News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. delegation will meet with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday of their first face-to-face assembly at a senior degree since Washington pulled its troops from Afghanistan and the hardline group took over the nation, two senior administration officers advised Reuters.

The high-level U.S. delegation will embrace officers from the State Division, USAID and the U.S. intelligence neighborhood, will press the Taliban to make sure continued protected passage for U.S. residents and others out of Afghanistan and to launch kidnapped U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs, the officers stated.

One other prime precedence might be to carry the Taliban to its dedication that it’s going to not enable Afghanistan to once more turn into a hotbed for al Qaeda or different extremists whereas urgent the group to enhance entry for humanitarian assist because the nation faces the prospect of a “actually extreme and possibly not possible to forestall” financial contraction, U.S. officers stated.

U.S. Particular Consultant Zalmay Khalilzad, who has for years spearheaded U.S. dialogue with the Taliban and been a key determine in peace talks with the group, won’t be a part of the delegation.

The U.S. workforce will embrace the State Division’s Deputy Particular Consultant Tom West in addition to prime USAID humanitarian official Sarah Charles. On The Taliban aspect, cupboard officers might be attending, officers stated.

“This assembly is a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban that we have had ongoing on issues of significant nationwide curiosity,” stated a senior administration official, talking on the situation of anonymity.

“This assembly is just not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We stay clear that any legitimacy have to be earned via the Taliban’s personal actions. They should set up a sustained observe file,” the official stated.

The USA’ two decades-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a rapidly organized airlift in August which noticed greater than 124,000 civilians together with Individuals, Afghans and others being evacuated because the Taliban took over. However 1000’s of different U.S.-allied Afghans vulnerable to Taliban persecution had been left behind.

Washington and different Western nations are grappling with tough decisions as a extreme humanitarian disaster looms massive over Afghanistan. They’re attempting to formulate find out how to interact with the Taliban with out granting it the legitimacy it seeks whereas guaranteeing humanitarian assist flows into the nation.

Many Afghans have began promoting their possessions to pay for ever-scarcer meals.

The departure of U.S.-led forces and lots of worldwide donors robbed the nation of grants that financed 75% of public spending, in keeping with the World Financial institution.

Whereas there was an enchancment for humanitarian actors get entry to some areas that they have not been in a decade, issues nonetheless endured, the U.S. official stated, including that the U.S. delegation would press Taliban to enhance.

“Proper now, we face some actual entry points….There are a number of challenges in guaranteeing that feminine assist employees are offered unimpeded entry to all areas,” the official stated and added that Washington wanted to see an enchancment by the Taliban on this entrance “if we’re to ponder much more strong humanitarian help.”


Whereas the Taliban has promised to be extra inclusive than when it led the nation from 1996 to 2001, america has repeatedly stated it would choose the brand new Taliban authorities primarily based on its deeds not its phrases.

The Taliban drew from its interior excessive echelons to fill prime posts in Afghanistan’s new provisional authorities introduced final month, together with an affiliate of the Islamist militant group’s founder as premier and a needed man on a U.S. terrorism checklist as inside minister. There have been no outsiders and no girls within the cupboard.

The European Union international coverage chief stated on Sunday its habits to this point was “not very encouraging.”

“We will definitely press the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans together with girls and ladies and to type an inclusive authorities with broad assist,” the U.S. official stated.

He added that there have been discrepancies between the Taliban’s guarantees of continued protected passage and implementation.

“As a sensible matter, their implementation of their commitments have been uneven. It’s true that typically we obtain assurances from sure ranges however then observe via on these assurances has actually been uneven,” the official stated.

The USA has immediately facilitated the departure of 105 U.S. residents and 95 lawful everlasting residents out of Afghanistan since Aug. 31, when U.S. withdrawal was accomplished, State Division spokesperson Ned Value stated on Thursday.

He declined to supply a exact determine for these remaining, however stated the company was in touch with “dozens of Individuals in Afghanistan who want to depart” however that the quantity was dynamic and continuously altering.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Enhancing by Michelle Value and Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters. | Unique-U.S. Delegation to Meet Taliban in First Excessive-Stage Talks Since Pullout – Officers | High News

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