U.S. delegation met with Afghan Taliban representatives in Qatar -State Department


FILE PHOTO: Head of the Taliban delegation Abdul Salam Hanafi and other members of the delegation take part in international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2021. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. delegation led by the special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, held talks with senior Afghan Taliban representatives in Qatar on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said.

The two sides discussed the international community’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and the U.S. delegation pledged to continue to support U.N. efforts to address the situation, the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The U.S. officials "expressed deep concern regarding allegations of human rights abuses and urged the Taliban to protect the rights of all Afghans, uphold and enforce its policy of general amnesty and take additional steps to form an inclusive and representative government," the State Department said.

The U.S. officials urged the Taliban to implement a commitment on providing countrywide access to education at all levels for women and girls.

"The Taliban expressed openness to engaging with the international community on full access to education and welcomed efforts to verify and monitor progress to enroll women and girls in school at all levels," the State Department said.

It said the U.S. delegation included representatives from the intelligence community, the Treasury Department and the U.S. international aid agency USAID, while "technocratic professionals" also took part on the Afghan side.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Kanishka Singh; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sam Holmes)

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