U.S.-Taliban meetings in Doha reach an impasse, as enormous humanitarian disaster approaches

Jacques Follorou of Le Monde continues to provide the best up-to-date and accurate overview of what is going on in Afghanistan, particularly with respect to the decisions and actions of the Taliban.

His dispatch of October 12, 2021 provudes an excellent account of what took place in the U.S.-Taliban meetings in Doha, Qatar, on October 10-11.

Follorou cuts through the formulaic talking points of each side. The Americans repeated their refrain that “The Taliban will be judged by their actions, not by their words.” At this point, the statement has become meaningless boilerplate.

The Taliban, for their part, simply repeat the language from the February 29, 2020 agreement with the U.S., that they will not allow their territory to be used for terrorist attacks on the U.S. or its allies. Their intentions with respect to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan remain opaque, behind such formulations.

U.S. interest in coordinating strategy with the Taliban against the Islamic State or ISIS-K appears to have been rebuffed, evoking little or no interest on the part of the Taliban.

Having just defeated the most powerful military power in the world, Follorou reports, the Taliban are full of self-confidence and little inclined to make concessions on human rights, including women’s rights, in exchange for a lifting of the freeze of Afghan assets in the U.S. and Europe, or to free up the dibursement of humanitarian aid. They reject any conditionality with respect to either the former or the latter.

With the Americans and the Europeans firmly set in their demands that the Taliban provide guarantees for the respect of human rights before assets can be freed or aid can flow, the Afghan economy appears on the verge of collapse.

As winter is fast approaching, a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions becomes more likely every day.

It is difficult to see either side yielding, while diplomacy is awkward and takes a lot of time.

In these circumstances, it seems likely that millions of Afghans will starve to death before the assistance they so desperately need reaches them.


Jacques Follorou, “Les talibans veulent de l’aide, mais sans conditions; Les maîtres de l’Afghanistan refusent tout compromis politique, alors que la situation humanitaire se dégrade dans le pays. Samedi 9 et dimanche 10 octobre, ils rencontraient pour la première fois une délégation américaine, à Doha,” Le Monde, le 12 Octobre 2021 (à 12h11 – Mis à jour à 12h12).

The Trenchant Observer