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US says it will resume talks with Afghan Taliban next week

FILE PHOTO: Taliban delegates speak during talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents in Doha, Qatar September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem al Omari

The United States will resume talks with the Taliban next week in Qatar, addressing among other issues the fight against terrorism and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The American delegation will be led by the US special representative for Afghanistan, Tom West, for the planned two weeks of discussions, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.

The two sides will discuss “our vital national interests” which include counterterrorism operations against the militant Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda, humanitarian assistance, Afghanistan’s devastated economy, and safe passage out of Afghanistan for US citizens and Afghans who worked for the United States during the 20-year war.

West met two weeks ago in Pakistan with representatives of the Taliban that seized power in August as US forces completed their withdrawal.

Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader sign a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 29, 2020.

A first session between the two sides was held October 9-10 in the Qatari capital Doha, where US diplomats overseeing relations with Afghanistan transferred after the Taliban takeover.

West on Friday reiterated US conditions for the Taliban to receive US financial and diplomatic support: fight terrorism, install an inclusive government, respect the rights of minorities, women and girls, and provide equal access to educations and employment.

He said the United States would continue to have dialogue with the Taliban and for now provide only humanitarian aid.

Foreign minister of the Taliban government, Amir Khan Muttaqi, which is not recognised by the international community, called last week in an open letter to the US Congress for the release of Afghan assets frozen by the US.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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