Taliban willing to hold dialogue to get sanctions lifted

Representatives from the Taliban have taken part in UN-led talks on the situation in Afghanistan for the first time. The Islamist group expressed willingness to hold dialogue with the international community, hoping to see the lifting of sanctions against the country for its restrictions on female rights.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid and other senior officials attended the two-day meeting in Doha that started Sunday.

Delegates from more than 20 nations joined the talks, including the US and Japan.

The Taliban interim government says Mujahid blamed the country's sluggish economy on a freeze on overseas assets of the Afghan central bank imposed by Washington and other sanctions.

To remove them, he proposed setting up a working group and enhancing cooperation with the international community.

But some envoys called for improvements in human rights. The Taliban have been tightening restrictions on female rights since they took power in 2021. Girls are only allowed to go to elementary school.

Mujahid said the Taliban acknowledge the issue and are making efforts on their own. The spokesperson said: "These issues are Afghanistan's internal affairs. We continue to tell the international community we are trying to find a way to resolve the problem."

Since the group regained power three years ago, no country has recognized the Taliban interim government. That's largely due to the trampling of women's rights in Afghanistan.

But the situation may be changing, as China and Russia are building ties with the Taliban.