Afghan Taliban delegation in Turkey for high-level talks

Afghan Taliban delegation in Turkey for high-level talks

Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday met with a high-level delegation of Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, officials said, the first such talks since the Taliban takeover of the country in August as U.S. forces pulled out after two decades of war.

The meeting in Ankara between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban-appointed foreign minister, comes after Taliban leaders held a series of talks with the United States, 10 European nations and European Union representatives in Qatar earlier this week.

The international community has condemned some Taliban actions since their blitz takeover as the U.S. and NATO troops pulled out and the U.S.-backed Afghan government crumbled. The Taliban have brought back public hangings and other brutal tactics. They have allowed girls to return to primary school but have barred them from going to high school in all but one Afghan province. Women have not been allowed to return to work.

The current, Taliban-appointed Afghan government, which the former insurgents say is only interim, is comprised solely of Taliban figures, including several blacklisted by the United Nations.

Cavusoglu, speaking after the meeting in the Turkish capital, said they discussed the flights from Kabul’s airport after the Taliban requested Ankara’s help on the matter. He also said Turkey had made suggestions concerning a more inclusive Afghan government as well as the education of girls under the Taliban.

“We have conveyed our expectations concerning security for the resumption of regular flights” from Kabul, Cavusoglu said. “Today we told them once again that they must be inclusive for the country’s unity and solidarity.”

“We shared some recommendations on the subject of educating women, children, girls and women joining the workforce,” Cavusoglu said. “We said, don’t see this as a precondition from the West or as their demand. We recommended that they see this as an expectation from the Muslim world and other Muslim countries.”

The Turkish minister said he also discussed the Taliban’s inability to access Afghanistan’s foreign funds, saying Turkey believes that countries that have frozen Afghanistan’s foreign accounts should show “more flexibility” to allow salaries to be paid.

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