UPDATE - US officials to meet Taliban representatives in Doha this week

UPDATE - US officials to meet Taliban representatives in Doha this week

Thomas West, Rina Amiri will also meet 'technocratic professionals' from key Afghan ministries to discuss security, women's rights

ADDS COMMENT FROM STATE DEPARTMENT, BACKGROUND

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - US officials will meet Taliban representatives and "technocratic professionals" from key Afghan ministries during a visit to Doha this week, according to the State Department.

"Priority issues will include humanitarian support for the people of Afghanistan, economic stabilization, fair and dignified treatment of all Afghans, including women and girls, security issues, and efforts to counter narcotics production and trafficking," the agency said in a statement.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, as officials of the US-backed Kabul administration fled the country and foreign forces withdrew.

Since then, the US still does not recognize the Taliban government and imposed sanctions.

The meeting "does not indicate any change in policy of the United States," State Department Deputy apokesman Vedant Patel responded in a news conference when asked by Anadolu about the sit-down.

"We have been very clear that we will engage with the Taliban appropriately when it is in our interest to do so. This is not intended to mean any kind of indication of recognition or any kind of indication of normalization or legitimacy of the Taliban," said Patel.

Noting his previous comments on the US' "continued concerns about backsliding in Afghanistan," including human rights abuses against women and girls, Patel said: "All of those things and many others continue to be of immense concern to the United States."

Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, will travel to Astana, Kazakhstan and Doha, Qatar on July 26 - 31.

In Astana, they will meet colleagues from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for a C5+1 Special Session on Afghanistan as well as civil society members focused on advancing women’s economic empowerment in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

The C5+1, which includes Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, was formed under former US President Barack Obama during the 2015 UN General Assembly. It is the US' main dialogue platform with regional states.


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