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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Taliban says ‘Doha Agreement’ can pave the way for good ties with the US

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The UN says 22.8 million Afghans are at risk of facing acute hunger during the harsh winter season.

The Taliban said that the full implementation of the Doha agreement can pave the way for positive ties between the interim government and the US in an open letter to Congress, which was shared on Wednesday.

“Without any doubt, the two-decade war after the 7 October, 2001, cast a shadow over the relations of the American and Afghan people. But fortunately, the end result of this long war was guaranteed and resolved through a bilateral agreement [Doha agreement],” read the letter, signed by Acting Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Signed in February last year, during face-to-face negotiations between the Taliban and the US in Qatar, the agreement set 1 May 2021 as the deadline for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Under the agreement, the troop pull out was set to be conducted on the condition that the Taliban ‘halts its support for terrorist organisations’. The accord also stipulated the release of 5,000 Taliban fighters in exchange for 1,000 Afghan government prisoners held by the group.

However, President Joe Biden changed the deadline to 11 September this year—before it was later revised to 31 August—without conditions.

With the then Afghan government losing the military support provided by American presence, the Taliban was able to seize more territory until eventually taking over Kabul on 15 August this year.

Muttaqi defended the takeover in the letter by saying that it came upon the request of the people of Kabul and to fill “the power vacuum” left behind by the “irresponsible escape” of former President Ashraf Ghani.

He also said that the Taliban-led interim administration “is interested in establishing positive relations with all world governments including the American administration”.

“Afghanistan now has everything available for growth and development, and the United States of America can also invest in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan,” said Muttaqi.

Days after the Taliban took over Kabul, the US froze around $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank due to the group being named under the Treasury Department’s sanctions designation list.

The Taliban-led administration has since called on Washington to release the assets as the country grapples with an economic and humanitarian crisis, affecting millions of Afghans in the country.

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“This goes against our expectations as well as the Doha Agreement. The Afghan people, after attaining personal security following decades of war, have a right to financial security,” he said, questioning the logic behind Washington’s move.

The UN estimated in October that 22.8 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of acute malnutrition during the winter season if they do not receive adequate humanitarian assistance. As such Afghanistan has one of the largest number of people facing acute hunger at a global scale.

Muttaqi stressed that the current situation could lead to mass migration in the region and the world.

“Assessments by the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations conclude that if these conditions continue, the Afghans will face a dire situation this winter,” he said, calling on the US to address the situation.

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