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US delegation to meet Taliban in first high-powered talks since withdrawal: officials

In their first face-to-face interaction at a senior level since US troops' withdrawl from Afghanistan a US delegation is expected to meet senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday, two senior administration officials told Reuters news agency.

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US delegation to meet Taliban in first high-powered talks since withdrawal: officials
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The high-level U.S. delegation will include officials from the State Department, USAID and the U.S. intelligence community, will press the Taliban to ensure continued safe passage for U.S. citizens and others out of Afghanistan and to release kidnapped U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs, the officials said.

Another top priority will be to hold the Taliban to its commitment that it will not allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for al Qaeda or other extremists while pressing the group to improve access for humanitarian aid as the country faces the prospect of a "really severe and probably impossible to prevent" economic contraction, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who has for years spearheaded U.S. dialogue with the Taliban and been a key figure in peace talks with the group, will not be part of the delegation.

 The U.S. team will include the State Department's Deputy Special Representative Tom West as well as top USAID humanitarian official Sarah Charles. On The Taliban side, cabinet officials will be attending, officials said.

"This meeting is a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban that we've had ongoing on matters of vital national interest," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"This meeting is not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban's own actions. They need to establish a sustained track record," the official said.

The United States' two decades-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August which saw more than 124,000 civilians including Americans, Afghans and others being evacuated as the Taliban took over. But thousands of other U.S.-allied Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution were left behind.

Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large over Afghanistan. They are trying to formulate how to engage with the Taliban without granting it the legitimacy it seeks while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.

Many Afghans have started selling their possessions to pay for ever-scarcer food.

The departure of U.S.-led forces and many international donors robbed the country of grants that financed 75% of public spending, according to the World Bank.

While there was an improvement for humanitarian actors get access to some areas that they haven't been in a decade, problems still persisted, the U.S. official said, adding that the U.S. delegation would press Taliban to improve.

"Right now, we are facing some real access issues....There are a lot of challenges in ensuring that female aid workers are provided unimpeded access to all areas," the official said and added that Washington needed to see an improvement by the Taliban on this front "if we are to contemplate even more robust humanitarian assistance."

SOURCE: REUTERS

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Faisal Ali Ghumman is a senior editor at GNN, known for writing top quality content which garner very high readerships and has been covering every field of journalism, including politics, media, sports and scholarly articles. Faisal Ali Ghumman is nothing less than a Veteran Editor and has been writing for GNN for the past 4 months.

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According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,021 cases of coronavirus were reported while 21 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,173.

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Pakistan’s COVID-19 positivity ratio rises again 

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio surged to 2.36% with 1,021 new cases. 

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,021 cases of coronavirus were reported while 21 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,173.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves.

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Pakistan

‘Covid fourth wave’: Pakistan reports 1016 new cases, 28 deaths

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,016 cases of coronavirus were reported while 28 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,201.

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‘Covid fourth wave’: Pakistan reports 1016 new cases, 28 deaths

Islamabad: Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,016 cases of coronavirus were reported while 28 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,201.

The total number of cases has reached 1,261,685.

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Punjab

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Sindh

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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Entertainment

Marvel’s Eternals soundtrack to feature ‘Friends’ by BTS 

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Marvel’s Eternals soundtrack to feature ‘Friends’ by BTS 

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The upcoming film is confirmed to be set partially in the past and in the future. 

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