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CIA delegation, Taliban meet in Qatar

October 10, 2022 at 11:03 am

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement between US, Taliban, in Doha, Qatar on 29 February 2020. [Fatih Aktaş – Anadolu Agency]

A delegation from the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has met with Afghanistan’s Taliban movement in the Qatari capital, Doha, for the first time since US forces killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in July, CNN reported on Saturday.

The network said David Cohen, CIA deputy director, headed the US delegation and Abdul Haq Al-Wasa, the head of Taliban intelligence, headed the Afghan delegation.

The agency quoted US sources as saying that Cohen was accompanied by the special representative of the State Department in Afghanistan, Tom West, who had been in contact with the Taliban since the US withdrawal from Kabul last year.

According to the sources, the two sides discussed the United States’ release of Afghan frozen funds and the release of an American prisoner detained by the movement, as well as the fight against Daesh, which is constantly launching attacks against the Taliban.

The Taliban announced the arrest of American film director Ivor Shearer, while he was filming in the area where Al-Zawahiri was killed.

The US killing of Al-Zawahiri angered the Taliban, who described the attack as a violation of Afghan sovereignty and the Doha agreement that ended the 19- year war in the country in 2021.

However, Washington warned the Afghan movement at the time that the Doha agreement stipulates that the Taliban will not harbour terrorists after US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, stressing the need for “the Taliban’s commitment to this” condition.

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