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Afghans seek end to sanctions, unconditional unfreezing of reserves

Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi gives an exclusive interview in Ankara, Turkey on 15 October 2021 [Raşit Aydoğan/Anadolu Agency]
Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi gives an exclusive interview in Ankara, Turkey on 15 October 2021 [Raşit Aydoğan/Anadolu Agency]

The interim government led by the Taliban in Afghanistan is seeking to have sanctions lifted and an unconditional unfreezing of its assets by the US, a spokesman said Tuesday, and Anadolu News Agency reports.

A request was proffered by Acting Foreign Minister, Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, during a two-day meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha with US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, according to Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

"The Afghan side assured them about security, urged immediate unconditional unfreezing of Afghan reserves, ending of sanctions & blacklists and disconnecting humanitarian issues from political considerations," Balkhi said on Twitter.

Billions of dollars in foreign reserves have been blocked by Washington after the exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan and the fall of the US-backed administration in August, paving the way for a Taliban takeover.

The Taliban is consolidating power, but is faced with a tough situation as the financial system of the war-torn country is in disarray amid a looming humanitarian crisis that was warned by multiple international organizations, including the UN.

Balkhi said the two sides held detailed discussions about political, economic, health, education, security and humanitarian issues, including discussions about necessary facilities in banking and liquidity availability.

"Technical groups from both sides also held separate meetings for even better progress," said Balkhi. "Overall the sessions were positive and both sides agreed to continue such meetings moving forward."

READ: EU intends to continue talks with Taliban after two-day negotiations

Before the meeting, Muttaqi wrote an open letter to the US congressmen, urging them to take "responsible steps towards addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding" in the war-torn country.

But the West, in response said that Washington "made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans, then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community – in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including basic services – would all but cease. And that is what occurred."

Balkhi had called the West's comments "a faithful admission."

"It is correct that economic problems have been inherited by the new government. Thus, everyone should fulfil their own responsibilities to address the issue," Balkhi said in response.

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