U.S. officials, Taliban to convene for first in-person senior meeting

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A US delegation will meet with “senior Taliban representatives” in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday and Sunday, a State Department spokesman confirmed to Nerdshala.

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why it matters: This will be the first in-person meeting at the senior level since the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan.

description: The US delegation will include officials from the government’s intelligence community, the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.

  • The spokesman said his priority would be to ensure that the Taliban continue to allow American citizens and allies to leave Afghanistan safely.
  • They will also encourage leaders to honor their commitment to al-Qaeda or other extremists “not to use Afghan soil to endanger the security of the United States or its allies.”
  • And they will “pressure the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, and to form an inclusive government with broad support.”
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Noteworthy: US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the terms of the agreement signed by the United States with the Taliban in 2020, is not part of the delegation, Reuters reports.

big picture: Ever since the Taliban took over the country, the United Nations and human rights groups have expressed concern about a backslide in their authoritarian rule of the past decades.

  • The United Nations said last month that Afghanistan was on the brink of global poverty.
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