- This week, Taliban sources reportedly told Al Jazeera that the US has agreed not to fund non-state actors in Afghanistan. The commitment was reportedly made when top US officials met with the Taliban on Oct. 8 in Qatar, the first meeting since al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in Kabul by a US drone strike in July.
- The US delegation at the meeting included CIA Deputy Director David Cohen and State Dept. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom West. Abdul Haq Al-Wasa, head of Taliban intelligence, led the Afghan representatives.
- The two sides reportedly discussed the US disbursement of frozen Afghan funds and the release of an American prisoner currently detained by the Taliban. The Taliban also made public the arrest of American film director Ivor Shearer.
- A pivotal commitment was the US's reported assurance not to back any armed groups or non-state actors in Afghanistan. Western-backed Tajik armed groups had been continuing to contest Taliban rule.
- In the meeting, the Taliban derided a US announcement that it would transfer $3.5B in frozen Afghan central bank assets into a Swiss-based trust. The Taliban has previously called this "unacceptable and a violation of international norms."
- Washington indicated that the trust would be governed by an international board of trustees and utilized for debt payments, electricity, food, printing new currency, and other items.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Carnegie Europe. Maintaining diplomatic relations is a necessary foreign policy for the US and other nations. Speaking with Taliban leadership isn't the same as legitimizing the new regime, and it's only through conversations between the regime and Western governments that respect for human rights can ultimately be restored.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by USIP. The Taliban has little interest in following through with their diplomatic promises to the US. The recent killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri in July reveals this, as Afghanistan was used as a base for transnational terrorism. How can the US have any hope for negotiations if fundamental commitments are ignored?