(Bloomberg) -- U.S. officials will meet Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, this weekend as the Biden administration tries to arrange delivery of humanitarian aid and presses for the insurgent group that seized power in Afghanistan to protect the rights of vulnerable Afghans.
A senior State Department official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said the meetings in Doha on Saturday and Sunday are a continuation of what the department has called “pragmatic engagements” to protect U.S. national interests.
In a sign of political sensitivity over dealing with the Taliban, the official said the meeting doesn’t connote recognition or confer legitimacy on the group that in the past sheltered al-Qaeda terrorists and now has resumed restricting the rights of Afghan women.
The meetings, reported earlier Friday by Reuters, constitute some of the first formal engagements between the State Department and the Taliban since the U.S. evacuated its diplomats and troops at the end of August in a chaotic withdrawal.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.