Taliban says US will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Author : jaguarlong
Publish Date : 2021-10-11 05:31:36
Taliban says US will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Taliban says US will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

The Taliban say Washington has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to a desperately poor Afghanistan on the brink of an economic disaster, while refusing to give political recognition to the country’s new rulers

ISLAMABAD — The U.S. has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to a desperately poor Afghanistan on the brink of an economic disaster, while refusing to give political recognition to the country’s new Taliban rulers, the Taliban said Sunday.

The statement came at the end of the first direct talks between the former foes since the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of August.

The U.S. statement was less definitive, saying only that the two sides “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people.”

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.

The United States made it clear that the talks were in no way a preamble to recognition of the Taliban, who swept into power Aug. 15 after the U.S.-allied government collapsed.

State Department spokesman Ned Price called the discussions “candid and professional,” with the U.S. side reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on their actions, not only their words.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen also told The Associated Press that the movement’s interim foreign minister assured the U.S. during the talks that the Taliban are committed to seeing that Afghan soil is not used by extremists to launch attacks against other countries.

On Saturday, however, the Taliban ruled out cooperation with Washington on containing the increasingly active Islamic State group in Afghanistan.

IS, an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including Friday’s suicide bombing that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims. Washington considers IS its greatest terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan.

“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said when asked whether the Taliban would work with the U.S. to contain the Islamic State affiliate. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who tracks militant groups, agreed the Taliban do not need Washington’s help to hunt down and destroy Afghanistan’s IS affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or ISKP.

The Taliban “fought 20 years to eject the U.S., and the last thing it needs is the return of the U.S. It also doesn’t need U.S. help,” said Roggio, who also produces the foundation’s Long War Journal. “The Taliban has to conduct the difficult and time-consuming task of rooting out ISKP cells and its limited infrastructure. It has all the knowledge and tools it needs to do it.”

The IS affiliate doesn’t have the advantage of safe havens in Pakistan and Iran that the Taliban had in its fight against the United States, Roggio said. However, he warned that the Taliban’s longtime support for al-Qaida make them unreliable as counterterrorism partners with the United States.

The Taliban gave refuge to al-Qaida before it carried out the 9/11 attacks. That prompted the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that drove the Taliban from power.

“It is insane for the U.S. to think the Taliban can be a reliable counterterrorism partner, given the Taliban’s enduring support for al-Qaida,” Roggio said.

During the meeting, U.S. officials were expected to press the Taliban to allow Americans and others to leave Afghanistan. In their statement, the Taliban said without elaborating that they would “facilitate principled movement of foreign nationals.”

NEW YORK — A New York City man has been convicted on charges alleging that he tried to help the Taliban fight American forces.

Delowar Mohammed Hossain, 36, was convicted late Friday in Manhattan federal court on charges that he tried to provide material support for terrorism and tried to contribute funds, goods and services to the Taliban.

Authorities apprehended Hossain in 2019 at Kennedy Airport, interrupting his plan to travel to Afghanistan. Hossain was freed to home detention in July 2020.

After the jury verdict in the one-week trial, sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 12 by U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein.

Prior to the trial, the judge granted a request by the government to take steps to protect the identities of witnesses, including a New York City police officer who corresponded with Hossain in an undercover capacity prior to his arrest.

According to court papers, Hossain in 2018 started expressing interest in joining the Taliban and sought to recruit someone to do the same, but the person turned out to be a government informant. The court papers said he told the informant: “I want to kill some kufars (non-believers) before I die.”

Prosecutors said his preparations included buying equipment like walkie-talkies and trekking gear. He instructed the informant to save enough money “to buy some weapons” once they reached Afghanistan, they added.

The case follows a series of similar arrests of self-radicalized terror suspects on charges they tried to join or support the Islamic State group by making contacts on social media.

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