DOHA: The Taliban held their first face-to-face talks with a joint US-EU delegation on Tuesday in Qatar, as Brussels pledged one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in aid for Afghanistan.
At the Doha meeting and a conference of the world’s major economies, the G20, the message for the Taliban was the same: the world is committed to humanitarian aid for Afghanistan’s suffering people, and the country must not become a base for militants.
The European Union opened the virtual G20 summit by pledging the one-billion-euro aid package, including money for urgent humanitarian needs and Afghanistan’s neighbours taking in Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU aid package, meant “to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse”, at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Italy.
She stressed the funds are “direct support” for Afghans and would be channelled to international organisations working on the ground, not to the Taliban’s interim government which Brussels does not recognise.
The group is seeking recognition, as well as assistance to avoid a humanitarian disaster after they returned to power in August following the withdrawal of US troops.