Taliban says US will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

The US has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to a Afghanistan while refusing to give political recognition to the country’s new Taliban rulers, officials said.

he Taliban’s statement came at the end of the first direct talks between the former foes since the chaotic withdrawal of US troops at the end of August, with Afghanistan on the brink of economic disaster.

The American statement was less definitive, saying only that the two sides “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people”.

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Afghan women pray in a Shia mosque in Kabul (AP)

The Taliban said the talks held in Doha, Qatar, “went well”, with Washington freeing up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to link such assistance to formal recognition of the Taliban.

The US made it clear that the talks were in no way a preamble to recognition of the Taliban, who swept into power August 15 after the US-allied government collapsed.

US state department spokesman Ned Price called the discussions “candid and professional”, with the US side reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on their actions, not only their words.

He said: “The US delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for US citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society.”

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Workers sit on their wheelbarrows as they wait to be hired on the side of the road in Kabul (AP)

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen also told The Associated Press that the movement’s interim foreign minister assured the US during the talks that the Taliban are committed to seeing that Afghan soil is not used by extremists to launch attacks against other countries.

On Saturday, however, the Taliban ruled out cooperation with Washington on containing the so-called Islamic State group (IS) in Afghanistan.

IS, an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including Friday’s suicide bombing that killed 46 minority Shia Muslims. Washington considers IS its greatest terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan.

“We are able to tackle Daesh (an Arabic acronym for IS) independently,” Mr Shaheen said.

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