In their first face to face talks in Qatar ever since withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, the US and Taliban of ficials, according to Afghan acting Foreign Minister Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi, have discussed opening a new page in their countries’ relationship.
This is need of the hour, as both sides should try to forget bitterness of the past and move forward in a cooperative environment for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
Their peace deal in April last year provides them the basis to move forward and maintain positive momentum ahead to heal wounds of Afghan people. Afghanistan is currently passing through a very difficult phase and is in dire need of economic and humanitarian assistance.
Greater responsibility rests with countries like the US to extend assistance in a big manner to avoid situation spiralling out of control once again. The US reportedly would offer anti-Covid vaccine to Afghanistan, which is a welcome step.
During talks, Taliban side asked the US to lift ban on reserves of Afghanistan’s central bank amounting to US$9.5b. Certainly, these assets belong to Afghanistan and the US should accept legitimate demands of the Afghan people.
The release of this amount will help Taliban to pay salaries to employees besides providing other services to Afghan people. Keeping them frozen will send a wrong and negative message that the US does not want return of normalcy in the already war-torn country.
The western countries need to abandon the tool of sanctions and instead create an environment for peaceful reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan.
The pledges made at the donors’ conference in Geneva to help Afghanistan must also be fulfilled at the earliest to avert humanitarian crisis and another spectre of mass exodus.
It is also important for Taliban to fulfil their commitments made earlier regarding formation of an inclusive government and protection of human rights including that of women.