Qatar calls for engaging with Taliban, says no clear way to unfreeze assets

Qatar said isolating the Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, would not be an option and advocated engagement with the hardline Sunni Islamist group for moderating their behavior

Oct 14, 2021
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Qatar calls for engaging with Taliban

Qatar said isolating the Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, would not be an option and advocated engagement with the hardline Sunni Islamist group for moderating their behavior.

Two months have passed since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the world, however, is still grappling with how to deal with the group which seems to be paying hardly any attention to the concerns of the international community.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Wednesday advocated engaging with the group, arguing it will embolden moderates in the Taliban. However, he admitted there was no clear roadmap so far to unfreeze Afghan assets. 

The United States blocked the Taliban’s access to the country’s reserves after the latter seized power by force.

Al Thani said he believed that the international community should urge the Taliban “to take the right steps and to incentivize”. The threat of punitive measures should be discouraged, he said. “We see that it’s very important to provide guidance for them. This will create an incentive for progress and for the way forward,” he was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. 

Furthermore, the time is running out for the international community as the humanitarian crisis deepens in the country, with millions of Afghans sleeping hungry on roads while the winter is just weeks away.  

In the last few days, Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi held a series of meetings with envoys of western countries, including the US, and discussed the issue of recognition for their regime, humanitarian needs, among other issues. 

The Weat has been pushing the Taliban to form a more inclusive government and to respect human rights, and allow girls access to education. The Taliban has not made any commitments on these crucial issues. Instead, it appears the group is doubling down, saying the continued pressure may prove detrimental for the West as it might spark a refugee crisis.

On Tuesday, the European Union had announced a support package worth 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion), including 300 million euros ($346 million) that had been committed earlier, to help the Afghan people amid the crisis. 

Over 18 million people in the country are in direct need of assistance. There is a very real risk of mass death of children due to starvation. The supplies are running out, with the shortage of staple food, baby food, and other essentials. 

(SAM)