The US has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to a desperately poor Afghanistan on the verge of economic disaster while refusing to give political recognition to the country’s new Taliban rulers, the Taliban said.
According to the Associated Press, the statement came at the end of the first face-to-face talks between the former enemies since the chaotic withdrawal of US troops in late August.
The US statement was less final, just saying that the two sides were “discussing the provision of robust United States humanitarian aid directly to the Afghan people.”
The Taliban said talks in Doha, Qatar, “went well”, with Washington approving humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to tie that aid to formal Taliban recognition.
The US made it clear that the talks were by no means a preamble to the recognition of the Taliban, who came to power on August 15 after the collapse of the US-allied government.
Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Associated Press that the movement’s interim foreign minister had assured the US during the talks that the Taliban were determined to ensure that Afghan soil was not used by extremists to attack other countries.
On Saturday, however, the Taliban ruled out any cooperation with Washington in containing the increasingly active so-called Islamic State Group (IS) in Afghanistan.
ISIS, an enemy of the Taliban, has committed itself to a number of recent attacks, including the suicide attack on Friday in which 46 Shiite minorities were killed.
Washington regards ISIS as its greatest terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan.
“We are able to fight Daesh independently,” said Shaheen when asked whether the Taliban would work with the US to contain the IS partner. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.
Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which persecutes militant groups, agreed that the Taliban did not need Washington’s help to hunt down and hunt down Afghanistan’s IS subsidiary known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) to destroy.
The Taliban “fought to evict the US for 20 years and the last thing they need is the US return. It doesn’t need US aid, ”said Roggio, who also produces the foundation’s Long War Journal.
“The Taliban are facing the difficult and time-consuming task of eradicating ISKP cells and their limited infrastructure. It has all the necessary knowledge and tools to do this. “
The IS partner does not have the advantage of safe havens in Pakistan and Iran that the Taliban had in the fight against the US, said Roggio.
He warned, however, that the Taliban’s longstanding support for al-Qaeda made them unreliable as a US counter-terrorism partner.
The Taliban gave refuge to al-Qaeda from the 9/11 attacks.
This led to the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, which ousted the Taliban from power.
“It is crazy for the US to believe that given the Taliban’s continued support for al-Qaeda, the Taliban can be a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism,” said Roggio.
During the meeting, US officials were expected to press the Taliban to allow Americans and others to leave Afghanistan.
In their statement, the Taliban said, without going into detail, that they would “facilitate the fundamental free movement of foreigners”.
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