US -Taliban initial talks after US Forces withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021
Written By अनुभा जैन, लेखिका पत्रकार on Tuesday, November 21,2021
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The in-person talks that initiated in Doha on October 9th, 2021, after US forces withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021 – ending a 20-year military presence – and the Taliban’s rise to power. As opening a new chapter, senior Taliban officials and United States representatives have discussed their countries’ relations and other vital issues as they kicked off talks in Qatar. Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi, Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister, said the focus of the Afghan delegation was humanitarian aid and the implementation of the agreement the Taliban signed with Washington last year which paved the way for the final US withdrawal. The minister said the Afghan delegation had asked the US to lift its ban on the reserves of Afghanistan’s central bank.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke in Geneva at an international aid conference on Afghanistan. He said that it is a crucial time for the international community. He was deeply concerned about the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan.
The former United States special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on October 29th, 2021 said that the Biden administration should engage with the Taliban to help ease the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country now. The Taliban are seeking “normal relations” with the US and want the US to reopen its embassy in Kabul, lift financial sanctions and provide economic assistance, he said.
U.S. envoy Khalilzad and the Taliban’s Baradar signed an agreement that paves the way for a significant drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and included guarantees from the Taliban that the country will not be used for terrorist activities. In the days after its signing, Taliban fighters carry out dozens of attacks on Afghan security forces. U.S. forces responded with an airstrike against the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand.
Khalilzad had been Washington’s point-man in negotiating a deal with the Taliban for a US military withdrawal coupled with peace talks with the Western-backed government in Kabul. That effort ended with Taliban forces ignoring Western and Afghan government demands for a ceasefire and overran the Afghan army and police.
The talks focused on containing extremist groups and the evacuation of US citizens.
US officials stated that the Taliban would be judged by their actions.
In a statement issued, the Taliban said, "US representatives stated that they will give humanitarian assistance to Afghans and will provide facilities for other humanitarian organizations to deliver aid."
It added that the Taliban would "co-operate with charitable groups in delivering the humanitarian assistance to those deserving transparently, and will facilitate the principled movement of foreign nationals". However, the US has yet to formally confirm the Taliban's claim on aid.
During the talks, the US delegation emphasized on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for US citizens, other foreign nationals, and Afghan partners, as well as human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society.
Meanwhile, an Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-K) suicide bomb attack on a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people on October 8th, 2021 in the deadliest attack since US troops left the country. Over 100 others were injured in the blast at the Said Abad mosque, used by the minority Shia Muslim community. At the Qatar meeting, the Taliban ruled out co-operation with Washington on tackling the activities of the IS-K.