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 today.
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.
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. on the weekend meeting.
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.
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.