US holds first face-to-face talks with Taliban since Afghan withdrawal

The State Department stressed that the meeting did not indicate that the United States recognized the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

“We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban’s own actions,” the spokesman said.

The US team will also highlight President Joe Biden’s top priority to allow US citizens and Afghan allies to leave the country during the 20-year military operation.

The United States says the Taliban have largely cooperated in releasing American citizens. According to US officials, about 100 remain, mostly US citizens with roots in Afghanistan.

But the United States admits it was unable to get most Afghan allies willing to leave during a rushed airlift that pulled tens of thousands of people from Kabul for the withdrawal.

The spokesperson did not specify who would represent the two parties. Senior US officials, including General Frank McKenzie, head of Central Command, met with the Taliban in Kabul in August when US forces took over the airport for the airlift.

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