The talks were set to address matters including the independence of the Afghan central bank and the issuing of Afghani currency bank notes.
The United States has cancelled its meetings with the Taliban in Doha, which was supposed to entail the addressing of major economic issues. This came following the interim government’s sudden reversal of their decision to allow all female students back to high school classes, just hours after they reopened for the first time in nearly seven months.
The revoking of their initial decision means that girls above the sixth grade, so from 11 years of age, will not be able to attend school.
The cancellation of the talks was a testament to the length the international community would go should Taliban fail to keep up its promises of fulfilling its long due duty of securing the human rights and inclusivity in Afghanistan.
Officials at the interim administration have been expressing their willingness to hold talks with the US, despite 20 years of unsettlement in Afghanistan exacerbated by the previous instalment of US troops in the country. Qatar has facilitated these dialogues through their hosting of the Taliban Doha office, in which the group regards it as as a point of communication between Afghanistan’s new caretaker government and the international community.
“We have cancelled some of our engagements, including planned meetings in Doha, and made clear that we see this decision as a potential turning point in our engagement,” a US State Department spokesperson told Reuters.
“Their decision was a deeply disappointing and inexplicable reversal of commitments to the Afghan people, first and foremost, and also to the international community.”
Reuters reported that three sources said that the series of meeting between the US and Taliban officials were scheduled to take place on the sidelines of a conference in Doha last Saturday and Sunday.
The sources added that some of the meetings were to be attended by United Nations and World Bank representatives.
With the Taliban requestion the US to put civil servants back to work in October 2021, US has a request of their own. “Number one that women and girls could attend at all levels across large swaths of the country. We didn’t want to try to hold the Taliban to a higher standard than the Republic,” said Thomas West, Special Envoy for Afghanistan at a Doha Forum 2022 session.
“The Afghan people were told that on March 23, we would see women and girls attend secondary school across the country and that did not occur,” he added.
“I believe that hope is not lost. I’m hopeful that that we’ll see a reversal of this decision in the coming days.”
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the Taliban’s decision to ban girls from entering schools came as a “shock” and is urging them to reconsider.