Saturday, October 1, 2022

Taliban seeks to free Afghan assets in ‘positive’ talks with US

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban and the United States ended two-day meetings in Qatar on Tuesday, with the Islamist group saying its representatives urged US officials to unfreeze Afghan state assets and lift sanctions.

The discussion comes amid growing appeals by aid groups to international donors to increase financial aid to Afghanistan, where the United Nations says more than half the population is suffering acute hunger this winter.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki led their respective delegations to talks in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Kahr Balkhi said the two sides discussed political, economic, health, education, security and humanitarian issues and exchanged views.

“The Afghan side assures them of security, urges the immediate unconditional release of Afghan reserves, the end of sanctions and blacklists, and the separation of humanitarian issues from political considerations,” Balkhi tweeted. “Overall the sessions were positive and both sides agreed to continue such meetings.”

There was no immediate comment from the US side on the outcome of the talks.

Washington said ahead of the Doha meeting that the focus of the talks would be on terrorism, safe passage for American citizens and at-risk Afghans, humanitarian aid and the country’s economic situation.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan from the Western-backed former government in August as US-led foreign forces withdrew from the country after 20 years. It prompted Washington and allied nations to suspend financial aid, freeze some $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets, and impose tighter sanctions on the Taliban.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also halted financial aid programs for Kabul.

The sudden disruption of foreign development support has plunged the Afghan economy into free-fall, government workers stranded in the financial sector, including the health and education sectors, remain unpaid, and business activity has come to a near halt.

The Taliban have warned that a deepening economic crisis could cause mass migration and refugee problems for the world if economic sanctions are not lifted and Afghan assets remain frozen.

The international community has not recognized the Taliban’s interim government, citing a lack of inclusivity and human rights, as well as terrorism concerns.

The Islamist group insists that its administration has brought peace and security to much of Afghanistan in a short period of time and is determined to work with the international community to lead the poverty-stricken country toward economic stability.

But critics are skeptical of those assurances, citing reports of retaliatory killings of former officials by Taliban forces and restrictions placed on women’s participation in Afghan television programs.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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