Afghanistan updates: US, Taliban hold first direct talks since withdrawal

State Dept. spokesperson Ned Price called the talks "candid and professional."

Last Updated: October 11, 2021, 11:55 AM EDT

It's been more than a month since the U.S. withdrew all U.S. troops from Afghanistan on President Joe Biden's order to leave by Aug. 31, ending a chaotic evacuation operation after the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control of the country.


ABC News Special

This special dives into the chaotic events of recent weeks, from the U.S. moving personnel out of its embassy to the desperate Afghans who clung to planes in hopes of fleeing the country.

In testimony to Congress last month, their first since the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, candidly admitted that they had recommended to Biden that the U.S. should keep a troop presence there, appearing to contradict his assertions to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Latest headlines:

Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern.
Oct 11, 2021, 11:55 AM EDT

7th Qatari evacuation flight takes off from Kabul 

Another Qatari evacuation flight took off from Kabul and has landed in Doha, according to Qatari officials, the seventh and largest evacuation flight to Qatar since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan. 

"The flight carried 301 passengers, constituting the largest Qatari passenger evacuation flight since 31 August. Passengers onboard included Afghan citizens, Afghan MPs, UN affiliates, journalists as well as citizens from countries including the United States, Netherlands, Australia, France and Japan," said a senior Qatari government official in a statement. 

The passengers who arrived on Monday will be transported to a compound facility already hosting Afghan civilians and other evacuees before departing to their final destinations.

"The State of Qatar will continue to work with international partners on efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, including through serving as an active mediator between various parties. We remain focused on providing humanitarian aid to the country and are dedicated to promoting a stable and peaceful Afghanistan moving forward," the statement said. 

-ABC News' Sohel Uddin

Oct 11, 2021, 10:26 AM EDT

US, Taliban hold first talks since withdrawal

While it appears the U.S. government has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as it nears economic disaster, it did not signal formal recognition of the Taliban as the country's new rulers following weekend talks in Doha, Qatar.

Taliban delegates meet with Qatar delegates in Doha, Qatar on Oct. 9, 2021.
Handout via Reuters

These were the first direct talks between the U.S. and the Taliban since the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of August.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price called the talks "candid and professional" and said the U.S. delegation reiterated to the Taliban they will be judged on their actions, not only their words.

"The U.S. delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society. The two sides also discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people," Price said in a statement.

A girl walks along a path on her way to school on the outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan, Sept. 21, 2021. Girls have returned to some secondary schools in a northern province of Afghanistan, Taliban officials and teachers said on Oct. 5.
Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

No date has been set for the resumption of talks that took place in Doha on Saturday and Sunday.

-ABC News' Aleem Agha

Oct 08, 2021, 1:57 PM EDT

ISIS-K claims responsibility of suicide attack at mosque

ISIS-K have claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a mosque in Kunduz on Friday, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

A local source told ABC News’ Aleem Agha the attack left at least 50 killed and more than 100 wounded. It was carried out during Friday prayers while the mosque was packed with worshippers, according to Kunduz provincial spokesman Matiullah Rohani.

An Afghan man films inside a mosque after a blast, in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2021.

According to a translation from SITE Intelligence Group, ISIS-K said in a statement that the attacker was of Uighur origin.

-ABC News' Aleem Agha and Cindy Smith

Oct 08, 2021, 10:04 AM EDT

Suicide bombing during Friday prayers kills scores

A suicide bombing at a mosque in the city of Kunduz, about 200 miles north of Kabul, has left scores of people dead or wounded.

According to Kunduz provincial spokesman Matiullah Rohani, the attack was carried out during Friday prayers while the mosque was packed with worshippers.

People inspect the inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz province northern Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2021.
Abdullah Sahil/AP

A man walks down blood-stained steps of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2021.
Abdullah Sahil/AP

At least 50 people were killed and 100 injured, officials said, though the exact number was not immediately clear and is expected to climb. A health official at the Kunduz provincial hospital told ABC News that it had received 26 bodies.

-ABC News' Aleem Agha

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