The Taliban said Sunday that the United States has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan but will refuse to recognize the new Taliban government, The Associated Press reports.
The Taliban on Sunday wrapped up its first direct talks with the US since the military withdrawal in August.
The Taliban said the talks in Qatar “went well” and that the Biden administration agreed to release aid to the country after agreeing not to link the assistance to formal recognition of the new government.
The Taliban also agreed to continue to combat terrorist groups inside Afghanistan but ruled out cooperating with the US government to battle ISIS fighters in the country, a spokesman said.
“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” the spokesman said.
The US was also expected to press the Taliban to allow Americans and others to evacuate.
The Taliban said only that it would “facilitate principled movement of foreign nationals.”
The US statement was less definitive than the Taliban’s.
The US said the two sides “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the talks were “candid and professional.”
“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.
Focus on terrorist groups:
The US pressed the Taliban to allow the US military to aid in the fight against ISIS in Afghanistan but Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who tracks militant groups, told the AP that the Taliban “fought 20 years to eject the U.S., and the last thing it needs is the return of the U.S.”
“The Taliban has to conduct the difficult and time-consuming task of rooting out ISKP cells and its limited infrastructure,” he said. “It has all the knowledge and tools it needs to do it.”
But Roggio added that the Taliban’s backing of Al Qaeda suggests it will not be a reliable partner.
“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,” he said.