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    US, Afghanistan discuss ‘building trust’ amid lingering sanctions

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    The US and Afghan delegations met in the Qatari capital Doha to discuss a slew of thorny issues between the two former warring sides, including economic sanctions, human rights, and the blacklisting of several Taliban leaders.

    The two-day delegation-level talks ended on Monday, said a statement from Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Ministry.

    The Afghan delegation, led by interim Foreign Minister Maulvi Amir Khan Muttaqi, included the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Afghanistan, and officials of the Afghan Embassy.

    While, the 15-member US delegation was headed by Washington’s special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West.

    “Building trust between the two sides, taking practical steps in this direction, removing the blacklist and sanctions, freeing Afghanistan’s bank deposits, maintaining Afghanistan’s economic stability, fighting against drugs and human rights were discussed,” the statement said.

    The Afghan side reiterated that it is important to build trust to remove the “black and white list” and open bank reserves so that Afghans can build their own economy without foreign aid.

    Humanitarian aid, free travel to Afghanistan, and consular services reaching Afghans anywhere in the world were also discussed, the statement added.

    The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, as officials of the US-backed Kabul administration fled the country and foreign forces withdrew.

    Since then, the US imposed sanctions on the interim Afghan government.

    The meeting “does not indicate any change in the policy of the United States,” State Department’s deputy spokesman Vedant Patel responded in a news conference when asked by Anadolu about the meeting.

    “We have been very clear that we will engage with the Taliban appropriately when it is in our interest to do so. This is not intended to mean any kind of indication of recognition or any kind of indication of normalization or legitimacy of the Taliban,” said Patel.

    Noting his previous comments on the American “continued concerns about backsliding in Afghanistan,” including human rights abuses against women and girls, Patel said: “All of those things and many others continue to be of immense concern to the United States.”

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