US, Taliban to Hold First in-Person Talks Since Withdrawal
The United States intends to hold the first in-person talks with the Taliban in Doha after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The United States and the Taliban are to hold their first in-person talks in Doha as of Saturday, the US Department of State said.
The US delegation and Taliban representatives will meet over the weekend in Doha, Qatar, a State Department spokesperson said.
The United States maintained contact with the Taliban after the group captured Kabul in August. However, this meeting will be the first of its kind as it will be in person.
"We will press the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, and to form an inclusive government with broad support," the spokesperson said Friday. "As Afghanistan faces the prospect of a severe economic contraction and possible humanitarian crisis, we will also press the Taliban to allow humanitarian agencies free access to areas of need."
The State Department stressed that the meeting did not indicate any recognition of the Taliban's legitimacy in Afghanistan. "We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban's own actions," the spokesperson said.
The US Delegation will exert pressure on the Taliban to make way for letting US citizens and allies the US made during the occupation of Afghanistan to leave the country.
The United States says the Taliban largely cooperated on letting US citizens out of the country. Around 100 remain in Afghanistan; the majority of which are US nationals with roots in Afghanistan, and they are uncertain whether they want to remain or leave, US officials have said.
The United States acknowledges not being able to get out the majority of Afghan allies who wanted to flee the country during their airlift, which saw the US getting thousands of people out of Kabul ahead of the completion of its withdrawal.
The spokesman did not specify the figures that would be representing either side during the talks.
However, senior US officials, including Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie, had met the Taliban in Kabul in August as the US forces assumed control of the airport.