Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Highlights: US, Taliban to hold first face-to-face meeting since withdrawal

Afghanistan New Government News: The high-level meet between the US delegation and senior Taliban representatives come as an Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a mosque packed with Shiite Muslim worshippers in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 46 people and wounding dozens.

In their first face-to-face meeting since Washington pulled its troops from Afghanistan, a US delegation will meet with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday.

The high-level US delegation will include officials from the US State Department, USAID and the US intelligence community. The agenda includes pressing the Taliban for a safe passage for US citizens and others out of Afghanistan and to release kidnapped US citizen Mark Frerichs, officials told Reuters.

Another agenda item will be to ensure that Taliban stays to its commitment and not allow Afghanistan to become a Launchpad for extremist terrorist attacks. This comes as the country faces a “really severe and probably impossible to prevent” economic contraction, US officials said. Human rights issues, women’s’ rights and other things will also be tabled by the American side.

IS bomber kills 46 inside Afghan mosque, challenges Taliban

An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a mosque packed with Shiite Muslim worshippers in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 46 people and wounding dozens. This is the latest security challenge to the Taliban in their transition from insurgency to governance.

In its claim of responsibility, the region’s IS affiliate identified the bomber as a Uygher Muslim, saying the attack targeted both Shiites and the Taliban for their purported willingness to expel Uyghers to meet demands from China, Aamaq news agency said carrying out the statement.

The blast tore through a crowded mosque in the city of Kunduz during Friday noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. It was the latest in a series of IS bombings and shootings that have targeted Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, as well as religious institutions and minority Shiites since US and NATO troops left in August.

Situation in Afghanistan still unfolding, hard to take “very definitive position” due to lack of clarity: Jaishankar

It is hard to take a “very definitive position” on Afghanistan as the situation there is still unfolding and there are “live issues” such as whether there will be an inclusive government in Kabul and whether Afghan soil will not be used for terrorism in other countries, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.

In an interactive session at the India Today conclave, when referred to the spate of targeted killings in Kashmir and whether there could be an impact of the Afghan developments on India’s internal situation, Jaishankar said he would not like to draw some connections with Afghanistan without any evidence.

About the possibility of resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, he said the prospect does not look good and asserted that there is no other situation in the world where a country actually runs “this kind of scale of terrorism” against the neighbours.

EU warns of security risks linked to migration from Afghanistan

Europe must take the security threats that might arise from migration out of Afghanistan more seriously, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson warned on Friday. “On the terrorist threat from Afghanistan, I must say that my assessment is that the alert level is not high enough. We really need to do more,” she told reporters after a meeting with her EU counterparts in Luxembourg.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August brought fears in Europe of a replay of 2015, when nearly 1 million asylum-seekers, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, fled to Europe by crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Discussed with Pak leadership importance of holding Taliban accountable to their commitments: US Deputy Secretary of State

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday said she discussed with the Pakistani leadership the importance of holding the Taliban accountable to the commitments they have made because it is in the interests of all to have a “stable and inclusive” Afghanistan that does not serve as a “safe harbour” for terrorists.

On her first visit to Islamabad as a member of the Biden administration, Sherman said Afghanistan was at the top of her agenda during her meetings and underlined the need for a “strong prosperous democratic Pakistan.”

She met Pakistani National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf on Thursday after her arrival from New Delhi and held a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday.

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