US Officials and senior Taliban delegation discuss “confidence building” in Doha

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, accompanied by Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, and the head of US Mission for Afghanistan, Karen Decker, have met a senior Taliban delegation in the Qatari capital, Doha.

The US State Department said in a statement on Monday that the two sides had discussed “critical interests” and “confidence building in support of the Afghan people”.

The Taliban’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said that the group’s delegation led, by Amir Khan Muttaqi, had discussed “taking practical steps” on “removing blacklists & lifting sanctions, unfreezing DAB reserves, economic stability of Afghanistan, countering narcotics.”

The State Department said that the US delegation had “expressed grave concern regarding detentions, media crackdowns, and limits on religious practice. The United States expressed support for the Afghan people’s demands for their rights to be respected and for their voices to shape the future of the country.”

The US officials met with representatives from the Afghanistan central bank and the group’s Ministry of Finance to discuss the state of Afghanistan’s economy.

The US officials also pressed the Taliban for the immediate and unconditional release of detained US citizens, indicating that these detentions “were a significant obstacle to positive engagement.”

Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that the two sides had “emphasized” continuing meetings for “understanding” and “interactions”.

However, before the meeting, the Council of National Resistance for the Salvation of Afghanistan, one of the main Taliban opposition groups, expressed concerns about high-level interactions with the Taliban.