The United States and the Taliban will be holding their first in-person talks this weekend for the first time since the Afghan withdrawal.
According to the State Department, a delegation will be meeting senior Taliban representatives today and tomorrow in the Qatari capital of Doha.
Since the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan back in August, the US and the Taliban have remained in contact but this will be their first face to face meeting.
A State Department spokesperson stated, “We will press the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, and to form an inclusive government with broad support.”
“As Afghanistan faces the prospect of a severe economic contraction and possible humanitarian crisis, we will also press the Taliban to allow humanitarian agencies free access to areas of need.”
The department stressed that the meeting does not indicate that the US was recognising Taliban rule in Afghanistan, with the spokesperson stating, “We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban’s own actions.”
The team will also be pressuring the Taliban to let US citizens and Afghan allies during the 20-year military operation leave the country, which is one of President Joe Biden’s key priorities.
IMAGE – “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0