In a major development, the Taliban on Saturday has demanded that Afghanistan's foreign assets be unfrozen during negotiations with the United States in Doha, as per reports. Taliban has reportedly also asked America to not violate Afghanistan's airspace and refrain from interfering in their internal affairs.
However, as per a statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the US has pledged to provide Afghanistan with COVID-19 vaccines. According to reports, the Taliban described the talks as a push for a "new page" in relations between the two nations.
A US delegation is set to travel to Doha to meet with senior Taliban representatives, more than a month after the extremist group reconquered Afghanistan. The US State Department announced on Saturday, October 9, about the first in-person meeting between the US and the Taliban after the crisis engulfed the South Asian country in the months after both sides reached a peace deal under the administration of former US President Donald Trump. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the main priorities of the meeting in Doha are to ensure the continuation of a secure passage of the people seeking to leave the conflict-stricken Afghanistan including Afghan nationals and foreigners. Price stated that the US side will also be pressing the Taliban to uphold the rights of women, form an inclusive government and allow the humanitarian agencies for free access to the vulnerable areas of need.
During the Doha talks, US officials will also seek to hold the Taliban to commitments that they would allow Americans and other foreign nationals to leave Afghanistan, along with Afghans who once worked for the US military or government and other Afghan allies, a US official said.
Taliban on Saturday ruled out cooperation with the United States to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan, staking out an uncompromising position on a key issue. Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told news agency AP that there would be no cooperation with Washington on going after the increasingly active Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan. IS has taken responsibility for a number of attacks, including a suicide bombing that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens as they prayed in a mosque.