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Taliban Urges U.S. To Release Afghanistan’s Frozen Funds

Oct. 11, 2021 (EIRNS)—American and Taliban officials completed two days of talks in Doha yesterday, the first such talks between the two sides since the U.S. evacuation from Kabul was completed Aug. 31. Among the top issues raised by the Taliban was the unfreezing of about $9 billion in Afghan funds held on U.S. Treasury orders. When asked if the issue of liberation of funds to the Central Bank of Afghanistan was raised by the Taliban delegation during the meeting, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said “All topics of interest are from their side and from our side. It was discussed.” The U.S. response to the Taliban request has not been reported.

Otherwise, both sides described the meeting in positive terms. “The U.S. delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement attributed to spokesman Ned Price. “The two sides also discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people. The discussions were candid and professional with the U.S. delegation reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words.”

The Taliban said the talks held in Doha, Qatar, “went well,” with Washington freeing up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to link such assistance to formal recognition of the Taliban, reported The Associated Press. Shaheen also told AP that the movement’s interim Foreign Minister Amir Kham Muttaqi, assured the United States during the talks that the Taliban are committed to seeing that Afghan soil is not used by extremists to launch attacks against other countries.

In a general statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said: “Detailed discussions were held during the meeting about all relevant issues. And efforts should be exerted to restore diplomatic relations to a better state,” according to Reuters. It welcomed the U.S. offer of humanitarian assistance and said local authorities would assist the aid. “Such assistance should not be linked to political issues.”

The Taliban are also looking to engage with Russia. “We are looking forward to cooperation with all countries, and foreign investment plays a significant role here. Russia is an important country in terms of economy. Afghanistan has been destroyed during the war, Russia and other countries could help to restore it. We welcome such assistance and are hoping for financial support,” Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid told TASS this morning. “We seek to establish relations with all countries. First of all, we are talking about diplomatic ties, without which further cooperation is simply impossible. We are negotiating with Russia, mainly on the recognition of our government and the resumption of the work of the embassies [of the two countries]. Resolving these issues will pave the way for further cooperation,” the deputy minister remarked.

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