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A member of the Taliban Fateh, a "special forces" unit, on Sept. 8 stands guard outside the former U.S. Embassy, which now displays a Taliban flag in the outer concrete wall. Photo: Aamir QURESHI//AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. delegation will meet with "senior Taliban representatives" in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday and Sunday, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: It will be the first in-person meeting at a senior level since the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan.

Details: The U.S. delegation will include officials from the government's intelligence community, State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

  • Their priority will be to ensure the Taliban continue to allow U.S. citizens and allies to safely leave Afghanistan, the spokesperson said.
  • They will also push the leaders to honor their commitment not to let al-Qaeda or other extremists "use Afghan soil to threaten the security of the United States or its allies."
  • And they will "press the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls, and to form an inclusive government with broad support."

Worth noting: U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the terms of the deal the United States signed with the Taliban in 2020, is not part of the delegation, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Since the Taliban swept the country, the United Nations and human rights groups have expressed concern about a backslide into its authoritarian regime of previous decades.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - World

Pakistan Airlines halts flights to Kabul citing "heavy-handedness" of Taliban

Passengers board a Pakistan International Airlines flight in Kabul on Sept 13. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Pakistan International Airlines on Thursday halted flights to Kabul after what it called "heavy-handedness" of Taliban authorities, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The suspension comes after the Taliban ordered PIA to slash ticket prices, warning that the company's Afghan operations could be blocked if it refused to do so, per Reuters.

15 hours ago - World

Deadly blast hits Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A massive blast tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing dozens, AP reports.

The big picture: It's the second major attack on a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers in a week, and comes as the Taliban contend with a growing security threat from other militant groups.

U.S. elected to rejoin UN Human Rights Council after exit under Trump

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has been elected to rejoin on the UN Human Rights Council, the State Department announced Thursday, three years after former President Trump walked out on the panel citing bias against Israel.

Flashback: The Biden administration announced in February it planned to rejoin the council, acknowledging what it called an "unacceptable bias against Israel," but arguing that being a member would help the U.S. advance its own interests.