Taliban urge US to lift freeze on assets

Taliban representatives have asked the United States to lift the freeze on the Afghan government's assets held in the US.

A senior Taliban official said acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi held face-to-face talks with a delegation of the US Department of State in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Saturday.

The official said the full-fledged meeting between the two sides was the first since the US completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30.

During the talks, the Taliban also asked the US for humanitarian support and other forms of cooperation.

The US government has not disclosed whether such talks were held.

But the Taliban said they were told by the US officials that they are ready to donate coronavirus vaccines.

The Afghan government's overseas assets have been frozen since the Taliban's takeover. The International Monetary Fund has also suspended financial assistance to Afghanistan. The country is facing a cash shortage and its economic conditions are deteriorating.

Another bilateral meeting is expected to be held on Sunday. The Taliban are believed likely to continue asking for an end to the freeze.

The US side is thought to be urging the Taliban to secure the safe evacuation of people trying to leave Afghanistan, and to tighten counter-terrorism measures.