By Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis and Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and the Taliban had “productive discussions” on the issue of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan during meetings in Qatar over the weekend, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday , describing the negotiations as “largely positive”.
Officials discussed humanitarian access during two days of meetings between Taliban representatives and US officials, including some from the intelligence community and the US Agency for International Development.
Price said the talks focused on issues of security and terrorism, safe passage for foreigners and US Afghan allies to leave the country, as well as human rights.
Washington has repeatedly called on Afghanistan’s new rulers to demonstrate respect for human rights, including the rights of women and girls, in order to gain international legitimacy.
“The delegation made it clear, as we have always done, that the Taliban will be judged not just on their words but only on their actions,” Price said.
A separate meeting with Taliban representatives involving officials from the European Union as well as the US took place on Tuesday, Price added.
Since the Taliban took power in August, Washington has frozen bilateral assistance to Afghanistan, but says it is still providing aid through nongovernmental groups. There are calls for government reserves held in the United States to be made available to the new Taliban-led government to alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis.
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