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US officials to meet Taliban in Doha to discuss economy, rights issues

July 26, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West on Jun 7, 2023 [Twitter]

US officials will meet Taliban representatives and “technocratic professionals” from key Afghan ministries during a visit to Doha this week, the State Department said on Wednesday, adding they will discuss economic issues, security and women’s rights, Reuters reports.

Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, and Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, will travel to Astana, Kazakhstan, and Doha, Qatar, from 26 July to 31 July, the State Department said in a statement.

In Astana, they will meet with officials from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to discuss Afghanistan, said the statement, which added the US officials will also meet civil society members focused on women’s rights.

The US officials will meet the Taliban delegation in Doha and discuss humanitarian support for Afghanistan, security issues, women’s rights, the Afghan economy’s stabilisation and efforts to counter narcotics production and trafficking, the State Department said.

The Taliban returned to power in 2021 when NATO and US forces withdrew after a 20-year conflict. The chaotic evacuation saw thousands of desperate Afghans trying to enter Kabul airport and men clinging to aircraft as they taxied down runways. A Daesh suicide bomber killed 13 US service members and more than 150 Afghans outside an airport gate.

A State Department report last month criticised Democratic President, Joe Biden, and his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, for the pullout, which was negotiated by Trump and executed under Biden.

READ: UK Tory MP praises Taliban government for ‘totally transforming’ Afghanistan