Representatives of the radical Taliban held their first summit with the United States. The Americans agreed to provide humanitarian aid to the country. But is this the result that was expected?
The talks between the Taliban and the US delegation took place in the capital of Qatar, Doha, for two whole days. Both sides assessed them positively. The State Department said the discussions were “frank and professional.” In turn, representatives of the Talib-an also called the negotiations fruitful and hoped that this would be a step towards the recognition of their government by the international community.
Of course, the very fact that the meeting took place can already be considered a major diplomatic victory for the Afghan radicals, especially against the background of the difficult economic situation in the country: there is a sorely lack of money. This is due not only to the fact that after the coup d’état, international aid programs were curtailed, and the former president was able to take out, according to some sources, $ 169 million in cash. It was the Americans who dealt the main blow: they froze a significant part of the reserves of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. The money is still in the accounts, only there is no access to it. The sums overseas have settled impressive: more than $ 9 billion, of which the Taliban can only dream of it.
Meanwhile, the quality of life of the local population is rapidly deteriorating. Residents of Kabul are already complaining about the lack of water, medicine and firewood. They don’t have the essentials. And then the coronavirus continues to rage.
Therefore, it was important for the Taliban to move forward on at least two issues: the unfreezing of accounts and the recognition of their government by the international community. However, “the opening of a new page in the relationship,” as the radicals loudly declared, is apparently being postponed indefinitely. Judging by the available information, the requirement to open access to accounts was ignored. And so far there are problems with the legitimacy of the Taliban. Even before the start of the meeting, statements were heard from the State Department that the very fact of bilateral negotiations does not mean that the radicals are recognized as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. So no one was even going to discuss this issue seriously. We limited ourselves to the phrase that legitimacy must be earned by concrete actions. Another problem: the Americans were denied a joint fight against the Islamic State.
In the United States, of course, they counted on a different answer. They also planned to agree on the normalization of the work of their embassy and on the safe departure of foreign citizens from the country, who still remain there.
Meanwhile, Moscow has invited the unrecognized Taliban government to participate in a “Moscow format” meeting. This forum, which is also attended by Iran, China, Pakistan, India, the United States and Russia, is being held just in order to promote the early establishment of peace in Afghanistan. It would seem that it is an excellent opportunity to show themselves on the international arena, but the Taliban are still pondering whether to accept the invitation or not. Although there is only a little more than a week left before the event.
In the meantime, negotiations have been held with the United States. And their benefit is, perhaps, only in the very fact that the meeting took place. And it remains to be hoped that the promises of humanitarian assistance, including a vaccine against COVID-19, will not turn out to be just words.