US and Taliban to Meet in Qatar to Talk About Unfreezing Afghanistan Funds

"VAN" (Afghanistan Bureau - 30.06.2022) :: Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Foreign Minister of the Taliban, led a delegation that left for Qatar on 29th June to continue discussions with US officials over releasing $9 billion in withheld Afghan assets as the country struggles with a famine and poverty crisis.

Governor of the central bank Mohammad Idris and deputy finance minister Nazir Kabiri are both members of the delegation. They will meet with Thomas West, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, and officials from the Treasury Department, according to Ahmad Wali Haqmal, the spokesperson for the Afghan Finance Ministry.

This is the first meeting since West pushed Muttaqi to lift restrictions on girl students’ access to education on May 21. Under the Taliban administration, girls are not allowed to continue their education past the sixth grade.

The Washington Post reported at the same time that US sources claimed Joe Biden’s administration was working with the Taliban on a mechanism that would provide Afghanistan access to the monetary reserves of the central bank.

After the Taliban seized over the nation by force last year, the US froze Afghan reserves. The militants-turned-politicians are currently working to restore the nation’s economy that has been ravaged by sanctions imposed and isolation.

This comes as a strong earthquake that struck the country last week also caused over 1,500 injuries and approximately 1,000 fatalities.

It also coincides with the Taliban’s first gathering of over 3,000 people, mostly Islamic scholars, taking place on Thursday in the Afghan capital of Kabul to possibly discuss urgent issues like the prohibition on girls’ education and interaction with outside world without domestic legitimacy and international recognition.
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