US officials in crucial talks with Taliban to address Afghan crisis
According to a media release, the meeting focused on critical issues concerning Afghanistan's well-being and humanitarian crisis
A group of senior American diplomats met representatives from the Taliban and technocratic professionals during which they discussed critical issues concerning Afghanistan's well-being and humanitarian crisis, the State Department said.
The interaction took place in Doha on July 30 and July 31.
The US delegation was led by Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West along with Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, and Chief of the US Mission to Afghanistan, Karen Decker.
According to a media release, the meeting focused on critical issues concerning Afghanistan's well-being and humanitarian crisis, with the US delegation strongly emphasising the need to build mutual trust and confidence to support the Afghan people.
Deep concern was expressed about the ongoing humanitarian situation, and a commitment to supporting aid organisations and United Nations bodies in delivering humanitarian assistance based on ethical principles was reaffirmed, it said.
Notably, US officials raised urgent concerns regarding the deteriorating human rights situation, particularly the rights of women, girls, and vulnerable communities. The Taliban was urged to reverse policies related to detentions, media restrictions, and religious practices, with a strong emphasis on upholding human rights.
The United States firmly stood by the Afghan people's demands for their rights to be respected and their voices to be heard in shaping the future of their nation, the State Department said on Monday.
Furthermore, the meeting included essential talks with representatives from the Afghan Central Bank and the Afghan Ministry of Finance, focusing on the Afghan economy and challenges in the banking sector.
Recent data indicating positive trends such as declining inflation and growth in merchandise exports and imports paved the way for a willingness from US officials to engage in technical dialogue aimed at economic stabilisation, the State Department said.
Acknowledging the Taliban's commitment to prevent Afghanistan from being a threat to the United States and its allies, both sides discussed efforts to fulfil security commitments. There was recognition of a decrease in large-scale terrorist attacks against Afghan civilians.
However, the US delegation emphasised the pressing need for the immediate and unconditional release of detained US citizens, recognising this as a significant barrier to positive engagement, it said.
The discussion among other things also touched on the Taliban's ban on opium poppy cultivation, leading to a decline in cultivation during the recent growing season. Despite this progress, the US officials expressed concerns over the continued trafficking and sale of processed opiates and synthetic drugs.
The US delegation also expressed openness to further dialogue on counternarcotics initiatives.