Taliban leader, UN official discuss aid delivery to Afghanistan

In 1st meeting since formation of interim gov't in Kabul, acting interior minister assures head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan of support.

Taliban leader, UN official discuss aid delivery to Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s acting interior minister Wednesday met with the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN secretary-general’s special representative for security to discuss a number of issues, including the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, a Taliban official said.

This is the first meeting between the UN special envoy Deborah Lyons and acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani since the Taliban’s announcement of a new interim administration in Afghanistan last week.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, tweeted on Thursday that Lyons and Haqqani “discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and humanitarian aids.”

Haqqani assured that the UN personnel can conduct their work without any hurdle and deliver vital aid to the Afghan people, the statement said, adding: “He emphasized to remain engaged with the international community.”

The meeting also stressed that the UN should recognize the newly established government in Afghanistan and cooperate with it, local Afghan media reported.

According to Tolo News, the meeting also discussed clearing the UN blacklist, implementing the Doha peace deal, and releasing Afghanistan’s frozen currency for banking and economic development.

The new administration insists that the US remains committed to the Doha agreement and that sanctions on the government officials should be lifted, it added.

The international sanctions were imposed in 1999 when the Taliban were in power in Kabul and had enforced Islamic regulations across the country.

At least 14 members of the interim Taliban government, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund and his two deputies, are on the UN Security Council’s blacklist, which includes travel bans and asset freezes.

Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani carries a $10 million bounty, while acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, and his deputy Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai are all sanctioned by the UN Security Council’s 1988 Sanctions Committee.