Taliban will hold their first talks since withdrawal from Afghanistan

Officials from both sides confirmed that senior Taliban officials and U.S. officials will meet Saturday and Sunday to discuss the containment of extremist groups in Afghanistan, and the easement of the evacuations of Afghans.

Taliban will hold their first talks since withdrawal from Afghanistan

This is the first such meeting since the withdrawal of U.S forces from Afghanistan in August. It marks the end to a 20-year-old military presence in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban to power in that country. The talks will take place in Doha (the capital of Qatar's Persian Gulf state).

Suhail Shaheen (a Taliban spokesman) said that Doha will host talks to review the 2020 peace agreement between Washington and the Taliban. This agreement was a key step towards the U.S.'s final withdrawal.

"Yes, there is a meeting. . . Shaheen said that the Doha Agreement will be implemented and bilateral relations would be discussed. It covers many topics."

A second official spoke under condition of anonymity to confirm that terroristism would also be discussed in the talks. He was not authorized to speak to media.

Islamic State extremists, along with ethnic and religious minorities, have increased their attacks on the Taliban since the Taliban's rise to power. In the most brutal attack on the U.S. since its departure, an IS suicide bomber attacked a Shiite Muslim minority and killed 46 people.

Since its inception in eastern Afghanistan in 2014, IS has relentlessly attacked the country's Shiite Muslims. The United States also considers IS the most dangerous terrorist organization.

Trump's 2020 U.S.-Taliban Agreement required that the Taliban end all ties to terrorist groups and ensure that Afghanistan will not harbor terrorists capable of attacking the United States or its allies again.

The two sides are likely to discuss how to deal with the increasing threat in weekend talks. The Taliban said that they don't want U.S. antiterrorism assistance, and warned Washington to avoid any "over-the-horizon" strikes against Afghan territory from beyond the country's borders.

According to a U.S. official, the United States would like to make Taliban leaders promise to allow Americans and foreign nationals to leave Afghanistan. This would include Afghans who have worked previously for the U.S. government or military.

Because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the meetings, the official spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Biden's administration has received complaints and questions about U.S.-facilitated evacuations of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, stated Thursday that since then, 105 U.S. citizens had left and 95 green-card holders had returned on flights facilitated in part by the U.S. This number has not changed in more than a week.

U.S. veterans have helped others to leave the country by charter flights. Some Americans have also escaped across borders.

Many other Afghans and foreign nationals have also been on recent flights.

According to the State Department, dozens of Americans are still trying to escape, as well as thousands of Afghans and green-card holders who may be eligible for U.S. visas. U.S. officials cited difficulties in verifying flight manifests, without American officials on ground in Afghanistan, and other obstacles.

The official stated that the Americans will also press the Taliban to respect the rights of women, girls, and all Afghans.

U.S. officials will encourage Taliban officials and humanitarian agencies to have free access to areas in crisis during the economic turmoil following the U.S. withdrawal and takeover.

Official stressed that the U.S. did not recognize the Taliban as legitimate leaders of the country during the session.

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