Taliban reveals agenda of upcoming talks with Washington — Analysis

The Taliban plans to discuss American recognition of its interim government, the unfreezing of assets and Afghanistan’s reconstruction in upcoming talks with the US in Qatari capital Doha, the group’s spokesman has revealed.

Suhail Shaheen, a militant leader, said Wednesday in an interview to Sputnik that he was open for positive relations between the US and the group. 

Washington, he suggested, could also play a role in rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan as well as making direct investments in the country, plus unfreezing the central bank’s reserves and recognizing the Taliban government. Shaheen stated that “those are the issues that are going to be discussed”Doha 

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The humanitarian crisis is only worsened by US sanctions on Taliban. “and have a negative effect on the people,”Shaheen added. 

“We must switch from talking to practical steps,”The Taliban spokesperson insisted. 

Shaheen’s comments followed Tuesday’s announcement by Washington that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West will head to Doha – where the Taliban has a mission – next week for talks with the group’s leadership. Two weeks are expected to pass before the negotiations continue in Qatar. 

But, Ned Price, spokesperson State Department was able to set the agenda and it differed from that of the Taliban spokesman. 

US will address “our vital national interests when it comes to Afghanistan,”Price spoke out about counter-terrorism, safety passage for US citizens and humanitarian assistance, as well as the economic condition in the country. 

West was part of the American delegation in meetings with Taliban officials in Doha in October – the first negotiations between Washington and the radical group since the chaotic withdrawal of the US and its allies from Afghanistan in late August. 

Just a few weeks before those talks, the Taliban had swept through Afghanistan and captured the capital Kabul, facing little resistance from the Afghan military – whom US forces have been training to resist the militants during America’s two-decade-long intervention in the country. 

The withdrawal of foreign aid, which followed the Taliban takeover, and new international sanctions against the group have delivered a massive blow to the country’s already struggling economy. Afghanistan faces a humanitarian crisis as drought and food prices continue to rise, putting many lives at risk.

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