US officials hold meeting with Taliban in Qatar


KABUL: US officials met with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday for the first time since American forces killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the capital, Kabul city, at the end of July.

In preparation for the meeting, the US President Biden administration sent the deputy director of the CIA and the State Department’s top official responsible for Afghanistan to Doha to meet with the Taliban delegation, including their intelligence chief, Abdul Haq Wasiq.

In a strike that killed Zawahiri, the US accused the Taliban of blatant violation of the Doha agreement, which was negotiated by the Trump administration.

The Taliban claimed it was unaware that the Al-Qaeda chief was in the country and called the drone strike a “clear violation” of the Doha agreement struck with former President Donald Trump in 2020.

This comes as the US broke off direct talks with the Taliban after learning that they had harbored al-Zawahiri, the architect of the September 11 attacks, in the Afghan capital for months. However, the US has continued to engage with the Taliban, including negotiating the release of Mark Frerichs, a US citizen.