Taliban delegation meets with EU and US diplomats in Doha | Taliban News
Western envoys meet with Taliban members as the group seeks recognition and much-needed funding amid a humanitarian crisis.
Doha, Qatar – Representatives of the European Union and the United States have met with Taliban members as the group seeks to release funds to address the serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi held the second day of talks with diplomats from 16 European countries in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Wednesday.
“All participants pledged to make every effort for the general welfare of the Afghan people,” read a statement released by the Taliban, adding that the international community stands ready to take “effective measures in the field of humanitarian aid”.
The statements, however, did not provide any specific details on the steps to be taken by the international community.
Thomas Niklasson, EU special representative for Afghanistan, who also attended the talks, said the bloc remained committed to providing 500 million euros ($569 million) in aid through the UN and a humanitarian organization.
The EU remains committed to the people of Afghanistan and is providing €500 million in aid through the UN and NGOs focusing on food, health, WASH and protection, education and means of subsistence. The two delegations agreed to continue the dialogue through physical and virtual meetings.
—Tomas Niklasson (@tomas_niklasson) February 15, 2022
The Taliban are still not recognized by any country and many of their senior leaders are still under Western and UN sanctions. The country is also cut off from international financial institutions, which has triggered a banking crisis.
The talks came weeks after the armed group met with Western diplomats in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, where the issue of human rights and the need for humanitarian aid were discussed.
Niklasson in a Twitter post added that the Taliban had expressed “their commitment to opening primary and secondary schools for boys and girls across the country no later than March.”
Frank exchange between Inf Int Contact Group in #Doha and the #Taliban: We have underlined #Afghanistanof its human rights, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance obligations and expressed deep concern at the recent arbitrary detentions and intimidation pic.twitter.com/dw7aC4wSTN
— Ambassador von Brandt (@EUAmbAFG) February 16, 2022
The Taliban-led government is grappling with a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis, with 97% of the population at risk of falling below the poverty line, according to UNDP projections.
The group, which seized power in August last year by toppling the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani, is also seeking to unfreeze billions of dollars in Western money.
But Western countries and international financial institutions have linked their release to the country’s improved human rights record, particularly for women.
Last week, US President Joe Biden said some $7 billion in Afghan reserves held in the United States would be split between a fund to help Afghanistan and to compensate victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
“It is not acceptable for us to spend this money on humanitarian aid or compensation,” Mottaqi said in a statement released Wednesday.
Millions of dollars in aid pledged by the West will be channeled through a special mechanism, meaning the fund will not pass through government departments.
While the Taliban have repeatedly insisted on exercising looser rule from their previous term in power from 1996 to 2001, restrictions on women remain in place.
Women have been barred from working in a number of sectors and high school girls are still not allowed to attend classes. Although the Taliban have promised girls of all ages to return to school by the end of next month.
The talks come a day after ambassadors from the six Gulf states of the GCC raised the issue of women’s right to work and study during their meeting with the Taliban delegation.