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US, Taliban in Qatar discuss frozen assets, women’s rights

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KABUL: The delegation of Taliban and the United States held a two-day talk in Qatar to discuss in detail US actions to preserve $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank reserves for the benefit of the Afghan people as well as steps to build international confidence in Da Afghanistan Bank, according to a statement of the US State Department.

US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, led another senior interagency delegation including representatives from the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to continue discussions with senior Taliban representatives in Qatar.

A statement issued by the State Department also expressed concerns over expanding restrictions on rights of Afghan women and girls. “The Taliban’s ongoing and expanding restrictions on the rights of Afghan women and girls was a central focus of US officials’ engagement with the Taliban.  The US supports the Afghan people’s demands that girls be allowed to return to school and that women be allowed to work and contribute to the country’s economic growth, and move and express themselves freely, lines of effort that Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights Rina Amiri is leading in coordination with her inter-agency colleagues,” said the statement.

According to the statement, US special envoy West made clear the critical linkage between progress on the protection of Afghans’ rights and steps toward normalizing America’s ties with the Islamic Emirate.   

The statement said that both sides noted an “interest in additional exchanges regarding counternarcotics, and disaster response preparedness.”   

The delegation of the Islamic Emirate reiterated their pledge to not allow the territory of Afghanistan to be used by anyone to threaten any country.

The US officials also expressed concerns over the presence of al-Qaida, ISIS-K, and other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan.

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