Sabtu, 09 Oktober 2021

US and Taliban to hold first talks since military withdrawl from Afghanistan - ABC News

The United States and the Taliban will hold their first talks this weekend, according to officials from both sides.

It is the first meeting since US forces withdrew from Afghanistan in late August, ending a 20-year military presence there, and the Taliban's rise to power.

The talks are to take place in Doha, the capital of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.

Officials from both sides have said these talks will focus on extremist groups in Afghanistan and easing the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is based in Doha, told The Associated Press the talks will also revisit the peace agreement the Taliban signed with Washington in 2020.

The agreement had paved the way for the final US withdrawal.

"Yes, there is a meeting … about bilateral relations and implementation of the Doha agreement," Mr Shaheen.

"It covers various topics."

Terrorism will also feature in the talks, said a second official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Since the Taliban took power, Islamic State extremists have ramped up attacks on the militant group, as well as ethnic and religious minorities.

On Friday, an IS-K suicide bomber killed at least 46 minority Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens in the deadliest attack since the US departure.

IS has carried out relentless assaults on the country's Shiite Muslims since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014.

The US-Taliban agreement of 2020, negotiated by the Trump administration, demanded the Taliban break ties with terrorist groups and guarantee Afghanistan would not again harbour terrorists who could attack the United States and its allies.

The Taliban have said they do not want US anti-terrorism assistance and have warned Washington against any so-called "over the horizon" strikes on Afghan territory.

The United States is expected to hold Taliban leaders to commitments that they would allow Americans and other foreign nationals including Australians to leave Afghanistan, along with Afghans who once worked for the former Afghan government and its allies, a US official told AP on condition of anonymity.

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Displaced Hazara people take refuge after Taliban evict residents from villages

The US also intends to press the Taliban to observe the rights of women and girls, many of whom the Taliban are reportedly blocking from returning to jobs and classrooms, and of Afghans at large, and to form an inclusive government, the official said.

US officials will also encourage Taliban officials to give humanitarian agencies free access to areas in need amid the economic upheaval following the US departure and Taliban takeover.

The official stressed the session did not imply the US was recognising the Taliban as legitimate governors of the country.

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2021-10-09 09:15:36Z

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