The Taliban urged Washington on Saturday to release the embargoed central bank of Afghanistan during a meeting with a US delegation in Qatar, the first high-level face-to-face dialogue since the Islamist group took control of the country after withdrawing United States in late August.
Incumbent Taliban Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, who heads the Afghan delegation to the two-day talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, said the US delegation pledged at the opening session that it would support humanitarian aid to his troubled country. that the United States would provide coronavirus vaccines to the Afghan people.
In an audio message the Taliban shared with reporters, Minister Muttaqi said they discussed “opening a new chapter” between the two sides, once adversaries during the nearly 20-year-old US intervention in Afghanistan.
The meeting emphasizes “the need to establish good positive relations with each other on an equal footing. “We stressed the need to merge Afghan financial assets in the face of the difficult circumstances facing Afghanistan,” he said.
Washington has blocked billions of dollars of Afghan assets, mostly stored in the US Federal Reserve, since the Taliban took control of the country. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have also blocked development aid, citing human rights concerns under Taliban rule.
According to the World Bank, the departure of US-led forces and many international donors has left Afghanistan with no access to funds that funded 75% of public spending, making it difficult for the Taliban to pay salaries to government employees. //FLY
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