| 19 October 2021, Tuesday |

Taliban to meet EU officials, says Acting foreign minister Muttaqi

Acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said a Taliban delegation will meet European Union representatives in Doha on Tuesday, following their first face-to-face negotiations with the United States.

The Afghans have already met with German government officials and a British parliamentarian, Muttaqi said at an event organized by Qatar’s Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies on Monday.

“Tomorrow we are meeting the EU representatives. We are having positive meetings with representatives of other countries,” he said in the Qatari capital.

“We want positive relationships with the whole world. We believe in balanced international relations. We believe such a balanced relationship can save Afghanistan from instability,” Muttaqi added.

The hardline Taliban’s diplomatic push follows their return to power in August as the US abruptly ended its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.

On Saturday and Sunday, they held their first in-person negotiations with US officials since returning to power. The American side stressed that the meetings did not amount to recognition of the Taliban government.

Afghanistan’s economy is wobbling on the brink of collapse, with international aid cutoff, food prices rising and unemployment spiking.

The Taliban’s efforts to consolidate their rule have also been undermined by a series of attacks by the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), who claimed a bombing of a Shia mosque that left more than 60 people dead on Friday.