‘Progress on several fronts’ after US-Taliban meetings, says State spox

“There were productive discussions on the issue of humanitarian assistance,” Price told a news conference, noting that there was “at least a degree of consensus” on the desire for aid.

The Biden administration has said it will provide assistance directly to the people of Afghanistan amid mounting concerns about a possible humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan as the country’s medical system falters and its economy is on the brink of collapse.

World leaders warned of the need for urgent action to prevent such a collapse during a G20 meeting in Afghanistan on Tuesday. The European Union announced an additional $ 800 million in emergency aid to help prevent a “major humanitarian collapse” in that country.

“We are committed to working closely with the international community and using diplomatic, humanitarian and economic means to address the situation in Afghanistan and support the Afghan people,” US President Joe Biden tweeted after the meeting.

US officials participated in a series of engagements with representatives of the Taliban in the Qatari capital, including a joint meeting with European officials on Tuesday, Price said, and humanitarian assistance was a key topic of discussion at all meetings.

A senior delegation from the United States, including the Deputy Special Representative for Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Tom West, the Deputy Director of the CIA, David Cohen, and the top humanitarian official of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sarah Charles traveled to Doha this weekend for the first such event. level meetings with the Taliban since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in late August.

Price described the meetings as “sincere” and said counterterrorism was a key component in the discussions and at Tuesday’s G20 meeting, saying the United States “would do what we have to do” to ensure that Afghanistan does not become “a launching pad”. for attacks against the United States. “

“That is our priority, we have the capabilities to do that,” he said without elaborating on those capabilities.

He said there was “some shared interest” in the matter, noting that “ISIS-K is a mutual threat to the Taliban, the United States and our partners.”

Price described the meetings between US officials and the Taliban over the weekend as “largely positive,” and said the US delegation made it clear that the Taliban would be tried “solely for their actions.”

“We engaged on a practical and pragmatic basis … focusing on security concerns and terrorism, somehow a shared threat from groups like ISIS-K in Afghanistan, safe passage for US citizens and foreigners and as well as our Afghan partners to con who we have a special commitment, and of course human rights, “said Price.

“We have made it very clear what our position is in the composition of this interim government,” he said.

The spokesman said the United States wants “to ensure that within six weeks, within six months, when any future Afghan government is formally announced, that government respects the commitments made by the Taliban,” but noted that “the Taliban’s conduct A month ago, six weeks ago, it is somewhat different from the conduct of the Taliban today. “

Price said that some of the Taliban’s conduct is “inconsistent with what the Taliban themselves have promised.”

Since gaining control of the country, the Taliban have reimposed a punishment protocol under the group’s strict interpretation of Sharia law.

CNN reported this week that while the militant group has tried to project a more moderate image than when they previously controlled the country, vulnerable Afghans say brutal justice is still being applied.

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban, said in an interview with the Associated Press last month that the use of amputations and executions as punishment would be reinstated.

“No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and make our laws on the Qur’an,” he told the publication.

“Cutting off hands is very necessary for security,” he added, telling the AP that the cabinet was studying whether to carry out the punishments publicly and “will develop a policy.”

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