US, Taliban to hold first talks since Afghanistan withdrawal

US, Taliban to hold first talks since Afghanistan withdrawal
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: US representatives and Senior Taliban officials are to hold talks Saturday and Sunday about easing the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country and containing extremist groups in Afghanistan, officials from both sides said.

It is the first such meeting since United States withdrew itself from Afghanistan in late August, ending a 20-year military conflict there, and the Taliban’s took over the nation. The meetings are to take place in Doha.

On Saturday, Doha-based Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told The Associated Press that the meetings will also revisit the peace agreement the Taliban signed with the US in 2020. The agreement had paved the way for the final withdrawal of US forces.

The Taliban spokesperson said: “Yes there is a meeting . . . about bilateral relations and implementation of the Doha agreement. It covers various topics.”

Terrorism will also be discussed in the meeitings with the US, said a second official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Islamic State (IS) extremists have ramped up attacks on the militant group, as well as religious and ethnic minorities. An IS suicide bomber killed at least 46 minority Shiite Muslims on Friday and wounded dozens in the deadliest attack since the US departure.

Islamic State has carried out relentless assaults on the country’s Shiite Muslims since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014. IS is also seen as the greatest threat to the US.

The US-Taliban agreement of 2020 demanded the Taliban break ties with terrorist groups and guarantee Afghanistan would not again harbor terrorists who could attack the United States and its allies.

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