US says it held ‘candid and professional’ discussions with Taliban

US delegation reiterated that ‘the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words,’ says State Department

WASHINGTON (AA) – A US delegation held “candid and professional” discussions with the Taliban in Qatar this weekend, the State Department said Sunday.

In a statement, spokesman Ned Price said the interagency delegation met with senior Taliban representatives in the capital Doha on Saturday and Sunday, their first meeting since the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

“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,” said Price.

The two sides also discussed the US’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance directly to the Afghan people.

The delegation reiterated that “the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words,” the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister in the interim Taliban Cabinet, said the meeting tackled bilateral relations between Kabul and Washington, implementation of the Doha agreement, humanitarian aid and Afghan assets frozen by the US.

“We clearly told them that trying to destabilize the government in Afghanistan is good for no one,” Muttaqi told Afghan state news agency Bakhtar after the talks.

The Taliban regained control of Kabul on Aug. 15 after the previous Western-backed administration collapsed and its officials fled the war-torn country.

The Taliban previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when US-led foreign forces invaded the country in search of Al-Qaeda and other militant groups.


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