United Nations: The Taliban have pledged safety and security of humanitarian workers and assured the UN of cooperation to ensure that assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan, a senior UN official has said.
But as per some media reports, the Taliban are not allowing around 1,000 people including dozens of American citizens and Afghans holding visas to the US or other countries, from leaving Afghanistan.
United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths met Taliban co-founder and head of the political office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other leaders of the outfit in Kabul on Sunday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
"At the request of the Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, met with Mullah Baradar and the leadership of the Taliban in Kabul to engage with the authorities on humanitarian issues," he said in a statement on Sunday.
In the meeting, Griffiths reiterated the humanitarian community's commitment to deliver "impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need." He emphasised the critical role of women in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being and called for all civilians - especially women and girls and minorities - to be protected at all times and expressed his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
"The authorities pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers - both men and women - will be guaranteed freedom of movement. The authorities committed to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan," the statement said.
Noting that further meetings are expected in the coming days, Dujarric said Griffiths will also meet - and convey his thanks on behalf of the UN to - representatives of humanitarian organisations, both the UN agencies and NGOs, who remain operational in the country and have assisted eight million people this year.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted that Baradar and his delegation met Griffiths at the foreign Ministry in Kabul.
Meanwhile, multiple planes are waiting for Taliban's clearance for departure, The New York Times (NYT) reported and added that the holdup is caused due to ongoing negotiations between the US and Taliban.
This comes as the United States completed its withdrawal last week, after the Taliban's swift takeover of Kabul, following an offensive that saw the rapid fall of the Afghan government forces.
US media reports say, the planes stuck in Afghanistan are not currently loaded and the passengers are being held nearby as the Taliban won't let them inside the airport.
A Pentagon official concerned with evacuation operations said the reason the Taliban wants to prevent these people from leaving is likely because they intend to punish them for their cooperation with the US.