The United States has said that face-to-face talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, were frank and professional. The news agency Reuters reported this information.
A State Department statement said the U.S. delegation to the weekend talks in Doha, Qatar, focused on security and terrorism concerns and the safe passage of U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghans, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society.
He said the two sides also discussed US humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.
“Discussions were frank and professional with the US delegation reiterating that the Taliban will be judged by their actions, not just their words,” the statement said.
The acting Afghan foreign minister told Al Jazeera on Saturday that Taliban officials had called on the United States in talks to lift the ban on Afghan central bank reserves.
Biden administration officials told Reuters on Friday that the US delegation would pressure the Taliban to release kidnapped US citizen Mark Frerichs. Another top priority would be to force the Taliban to live up to their pledge not to let Afghanistan again become a hotbed for al-Qaeda or other extremists.
The Taliban have regained power in Afghanistan 20 years after they were ousted in a US-led invasion for refusing to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.
Officials said the meeting was a continuation of “pragmatic engagements” with the Taliban and “was not intended to recognize or confer legitimacy” on the group, which took control of Afghanistan in August.
U.S. officials say they are in contact with dozens of Americans and lawful permanent residents who wish to leave Afghanistan and that thousands of Afghans allied with the United States are still at risk of persecution by the Taliban in the country.
Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a serious humanitarian crisis looms in Afghanistan. They are trying to find a way to engage with the Taliban without giving the group the legitimacy it seeks, while making sure that humanitarian aid arrives in the country.
At the meeting, the Taliban called on the United States to release funds from Afghanistan’s central bank reserves.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Amir Khan Muttaki, acting foreign minister of Afghanistan’s new government, said they wanted to maintain contact with the international community. They will not adopt the policy of favoring any particular country and engaging in hostile relations with any country.