Taliban urges US to release funds frozen in Doha talks

Washington seized nearly $ 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank.

Doha, Qatar:

The Taliban have renewed their call for the United States to release billions of dollars in frozen funds after two days of talks in Doha as aid-dependent Afghanistan grapples with an economic crisis.

Afghans have also called for an end to blacklists and sanctions at meetings chaired by Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Tom West, the United States’ special representative for Afghanistan.

It was the second round of talks between the two sides in Qatar since the United States ended 20 years of occupation of Afghanistan and die-hard Islamists quickly returned to power.

“The two delegations discussed political, economic, human, health, education and security issues as well as the provision of necessary banking and cash facilities,” tweeted the spokesperson for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

“The Afghan delegation assured the American side of security and demanded that the frozen money from Afghanistan be released unconditionally, blacklists and sanctions must end, and human issues must be separated from political questions.”

Washington seized nearly $ 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have also suspended operations in Afghanistan, withholding aid and $ 340 million in new reserves issued by the IMF in August.

The Afghan economy has effectively collapsed, with officials unpaid for months and the Treasury unable to pay for imports. The United Nations has warned that about 22 million people, or more than half of the population, would face an “acute” food shortage during the winter months.

The head of the Taliban government, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, is among those targeted by US sanctions. The US side remained firm on the measures and said it was taking action to gain support for ordinary Afghans.

“The United States remains committed to ensuring that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian assistance from the US government and the international community while denying property to sanctioned entities and individuals,” the door said. – Speech of State Department Ned Price in a statement.

“The Treasury Department has issued general licenses to support the continued flow of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and other activities that meet basic human needs.”

The United States also urged the Taliban to provide access to education for women and girls across the country and “expressed deep concern over allegations of human rights violations.”

He reminded the Taliban of their commitment not to allow terrorist organizations to operate on its soil and to guarantee the safe passage of American citizens from Afghanistan.

The Americans have also called for the release of US citizen Mark Frerichs, kidnapped in Afghanistan in February of last year.

The Taliban called the talks “positive” and said Muttaqi also met Japanese and German ambassadors to Afghanistan in Doha.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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