The United States and the Taliban will maintain their first conversations in person since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the State Department reported on Friday.
The US delegation will meet on Saturday and Sunday in the Qatari capital Doha with senior representatives of the Taliban, a State Department spokesman said.
USA has remained in contact with the Taliban since they seized Kabul in August when US troops were withdrawing, but this meeting will be the first face-to-face since then.
“We will pressure the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, and to form an inclusive government with broad support,” the State Department spokesman said.
“As Afghanistan faces the prospect of a severe economic downturn and a possible humanitarian crisis, we will also pressure the Taliban to allow humanitarian agencies free access to areas in need,” he added.
The State Department emphasized that the meeting does not indicate that the United States is recognizing the government of the Taliban in Afghanistan. “We are clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban’s own actions,” the spokesman warned.
The US delegation will also insist that US citizens and Afghan allies be allowed to leave the country. participated during the 20-year military operation, a key priority of President Joe Biden.
The United States claims that the Taliban have been highly cooperative in letting US citizens out. About 100 are still there, mostly US citizens with roots in Afghanistan who are hesitant to leave.
However, the United States acknowledges that it was unable to remove most of the Afghan allies who wanted to leave during the hasty air rescue of tens of thousands of people from Kabul before the pullout.
The spokesperson did not specify who would represent the two parties. Senior US officials, including the head of the Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, met with the Taliban in Kabul in August when US troops took over the airport to carry out the air rescue.