America Pushes for Afghan Humanitarian Aid in Taliban Talks

During a meeting with Taliban leaders in Qatar last month, a US delegation asked the Taliban to respect human rights. Less than two months after toppling Kabul’s internationally recognized government, the two parties met again in Doha on November 29-30.

The international community has refused to acknowledge the new Afghan leadership. Americans have cut off most foreign funding and development assistance, causing the Afghan economy to collapse. Afghan central bank deposits overseas have also been blocked.

Afghanistan is now facing a humanitarian crisis, with over half its people in danger of going hungry throughout the winter. The two parties in Doha were headed by US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, and Interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

The US delegation comprised representatives from the State Department, Treasury, USAID, and the intelligence community.

Frozen Assets and Sanctions

The parties addressed the international industry’s ongoing and immediate approach to the humanitarian situation. Meanwhile, the US team vowed to continue to assist UN and humanitarian efforts to fulfill Afghan needs this winter, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price.

He went on to say the United States is focused on ensuring humanitarian relief to Afghanistan, as well as other activities that promote fundamental psychological needs’ continued flow.

According to Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesperson for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the Taliban delegation reiterated the group’s request for the United States to free billions of dollars in impounded cash and to eliminate blacklists and sanctions against Afghanistan.

Balkhi added the Afghan delegation guaranteed the US side of the country’s security and demanded Afghanistan’s blocked funds be released unequivocally. They also demanded that blacklists and sanctions be lifted, and human concerns are separated from political matters in future negotiations.

The negotiations occurred after EU representatives met with the Taliban in Doha. After the meeting, EU officials said the union could help the cash-strapped nation.

This is only if US restrictions did not prevent Afghan people from receiving humanitarian aid from the global community while withholding assets from sanctioned organizations and individuals.

A History of Terrorism

State Department spokesman Ned Price said US authorities were deeply concerned about claims of human rights violations. They encouraged the Taliban to defend all Afghans’ rights, preserve and implement the general amnesty policy, and make extra efforts to build an inclusive, representative republic.

According to a Human Rights Watch study published on November 30, the Taliban has “summarily killed or forcefully disappeared” over 100 former security force personnel since seizing control in August.

Officials from the United States expressed concern about the presence of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which governed Afghanistan at the time, once had Osama Bin Laden (the architect of the 9/11 attacks), in their midst.

Price claimed the Taliban reaffirmed their vow not to let anyone use Afghanistan to harm any country. The US team also pushed the Taliban to fulfill their pledge to provide equal educational opportunities for women and girls across the nation.

Price said the Taliban supported foreign efforts to verify and track progress in educating women and girls at all levels.