World Taliban urges US to release frozen funds in Doha talks
Don’t whitewash details of photojournalist Danish Siddiqui’s murder
On July 16, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, the chief photographer for Reuters in India, was killed in Afghanistan. © Provided by Washington Examiner His death made headline news around the world. "He was embedded with a convoy of Afghan forces that was ambushed by Taliban militants near a key border post with Pakistan," the BBC reported. He "was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and the Taliban," the New York Times wrote. He "was killed in what was described as Taliban crossfire," the Washington Post explained.
The Taliban renewed its call for the United States to release billions of dollars in frozen funds after two days of talks in Doha as aid-dependent Afghanistan grapples with economic crisis.
The Afghans also called for an end to blacklists and sanctions in meetings led by Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Tom West, the US special representative for Afghanistan.
It was the second round of talks between the two sides in Qatar since the US ended its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan and the hardline Islamists rapidly returned to power.
Iraq Militias, Seeing Taliban's Success, Plan to Force U.S. Troops Out After Dec. 31
"The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011, and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous," the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement spokesperson told Newsweek."The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011," Nasr al-Shammary, spokesperson for the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement, told Newsweek, "and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous.
"The two delegations discussed political, economic, human, health, education and security issues as well as providing necessary banking and cash facilities," tweeted Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi.
"The Afghan delegation assured the US side of security and urged that Afghanistan's frozen money should be released unconditionally, blacklists and sanctions must end and human issues be separated from political ones."
Washington seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank also suspended activities in Afghanistan, withholding aid as well as $340 million in new reserves issued by the IMF in August.
Video: Former special US envoy to Afghanistan speaks out (FOX News)
Exclusive-UAE holds talks with Taliban to run Kabul airport - foreign diplomats
Exclusive-UAE holds talks with Taliban to run Kabul airport - foreign diplomatsDUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates has held talks with the Taliban to run Kabul airport, going up against Gulf rival Qatar in a diplomatic tussle for influence with Afghanistan's new rulers, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter.
The Afghan economy has effectively collapsed, with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports. The United Nations has warned that around 22 million people, more than half the population, will face an "acute" food shortage in the winter months.
Taliban government leader Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund is among those targeted by the US sanctions. The US side stood firm on the measures and said it was taking steps to get support to ordinary Afghans.
"The United States remains committed to ensuring that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian support from the US government and international community while denying assets to sanctioned entities and individuals," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
"The Department of the Treasury has issued general licences to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs."
The US also urged the Taliban to provide access to education for women and girls across the country and "expressed deep concern regarding allegations of human rights abuses".
It reminded the Taliban of its commitment not to allow terrorist organisations to operate on its soil and to guarantee safe passage for US citizens from Afghanistan.
The Americans also called for the release of US citizen Mark Frerichs, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan in February last year.
The Taliban called the talks "positive" and said Muttaqi also met with the Japanese and German ambassadors to Afghanistan in Doha.
Taliban edict says women cannot be given away in marriage without their permission .
The Taliban have banned giving women away in marriage without their consent, the latest in the group's monthslong efforts to adopt a more progressive image. © Provided by Washington Examiner Women should not be considered "property" and must consent to any arranged marriages, according to a decree released by Afghanistan's Taliban-controlled government Friday. "A woman is not a property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace ... or to end animosity," read the decree, released by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.