Taliban says US will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

The Taliban say Washington has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to a desperately poor Afghanistan getting ready to an financial catastrophe, whereas refusing to give political recognition to the nation’s new rulers

The assertion got here on the finish of the primary direct talks between the previous foes for the reason that chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops on the finish of August.

The U.S. assertion was much less definitive, saying solely that the 2 sides “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people.”

The Taliban mentioned the talks held in Doha, Qatar, “went well,” with Washington liberating up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to hyperlink such help to formal recognition of the Taliban.

The United States made it clear that the talks have been under no circumstances a preamble to recognition of the Taliban, who swept into energy Aug. 15 after the U.S.-allied authorities collapsed.

State Department spokesman Ned Price referred to as the discussions “candid and professional,” with the U.S. aspect reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on their actions, not solely their phrases.

“The U.S. delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society,” he mentioned in a press release.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen additionally informed The Associated Press that the motion’s interim international minister assured the U.S. through the talks that the Taliban are dedicated to seeing that Afghan soil will not be utilized by extremists to launch assaults in opposition to different international locations.

On Saturday, nevertheless, the Taliban dominated out cooperation with Washington on containing the more and more energetic Islamic State group in Afghanistan.

IS, an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed duty for a variety of current assaults, together with Friday’s suicide bombing that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims. Washington considers IS its best terrorist risk emanating from Afghanistan.

“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen mentioned when requested whether or not the Taliban would work with the U.S. to comprise the Islamic State affiliate. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who tracks militant teams, agreed the Taliban don’t want Washington’s assist to search out and destroy Afghanistan’s IS affiliate, referred to as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or ISKP.

The Taliban “fought 20 years to eject the U.S., and the last thing it needs is the return of the U.S. It also doesn’t need U.S. help,” said Roggio, who also produces the foundation’s Long War Journal. “The Taliban has to conduct the difficult and time-consuming task of rooting out ISKP cells and its limited infrastructure. It has all the knowledge and tools it needs to do it.”

The IS affiliate doesn’t have the advantage of safe havens in Pakistan and Iran that the Taliban had in its fight against the United States, Roggio said. However, he warned that the Taliban’s longtime support for al-Qaida make them unreliable as counterterrorism partners with the United States.

The Taliban gave refuge to al-Qaida before it carried out the 9/11 attacks. That prompted the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that drove the Taliban from power.

“It is insane for the U.S. to think the Taliban can be a reliable counterterrorism partner, given the Taliban’s enduring support for al-Qaida,” Roggio said.

During the meeting, U.S. officials were expected to press the Taliban to allow Americans and others to leave Afghanistan. In their statement, the Taliban said without elaborating that they would “facilitate principled movement of foreign nationals.”

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AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed.



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