US and Taliban delegations met in Qatar’s capital Doha on October 9-10, the first such meeting since the political developments of August when the latter took over the country. Following the meeting, the US has reportedly agreed to provide “humanitarian assistance” to Afghanistan. However, the foreign ministry in Afghanistan said that such assistance “should not be linked to political issues.”
The delegates included officials from the US intelligence and state department. According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the agenda included talks for containing extremist groups, easing the evacuation of foreigners from Afghanistan, and allowing access to humanitarian agencies. Price said that the discussion on October 10 focused on the process of forming a “new inclusive” government in Afghanistan with meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society.
The situation in Afghanistan remains tense, nearly 72% of the population is living below the poverty line. Since March, at least 17 children have died due to starvation. The United Nations has also cautioned that nearly 14 million Afghans are “facing acute food insecurity” and 3.2 million children might need treatment for severe malnutrition by the end of this year.
The US government has blocked access to USD 10 million of Afghan external reserves. Amid the collapsing economy and healthcare facilities, repeated bomb blasts targeting minority groups have heightened the level of fear in Afghanistan.
On October 8, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest inside the Said Abad mosque in the northern city of Kunduz, leaving 55 worshipers dead and 100 others severely injured. The responsibility of the attack was taken by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province group. The attacker was identified as Mohammad al-Uyguri, belonging to the Chinese Uyghur community, reported Amaq News Agency.
Between 300 to 400 people were present in the mosque when the suicide bomber blew up himself. The Taliban’s security chief of Kunduz, Mulawi Dost Muhammad, accused the attackers of trying to foment trouble between the minority Shias and the Sunni community, and said that “there was no dispute between the movement and the minority groups” in Afghanistan.