State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan will visit Doha next week for a two-day meeting with Taliban leaders.
“When it comes to Afghanistan, they will discuss our important national interests,” Price said. “This includes counter-terrorism, including safe passage for American citizens and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment, and includes humanitarian assistance and the country’s economic status.”
US envoy Tom West attended a meeting of the so-called expanded troika earlier this month, which included Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States to discuss Afghanistan. The group also met senior Taliban representatives.
West was also part of a US delegation at meetings with Taliban officials in Doha in October, the first such talks between Washington and the Taliban since the United States’ chaotic end to its two-decade-long war in Afghanistan on August 31.
The sudden withdrawal of most foreign development support after the Taliban seized power from Afghanistan’s western-backed government on August 15 has sent the economy into freefall. Hard cash is scarce and Taliban leaders are under Western sanctions.
As winter approaches, extremely poor Afghanistan has turned from an all-out war to a humanitarian crisis. Millions of people are facing increasing hunger amid rising food prices and drought.
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