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According to an Urdu-language newspaper, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA, i.e., the Afghan Taliban) has turned down a U.S. offer of $3 billion in exchange for permission to build two airbases in northern Afghanistan.
Roznama Ummat, the pro-Taliban Urdu daily, reported that CIA Deputy Director David Cohen and Afghan Taliban intelligence chief Maulvi Abdul Haq Wasiq met in Doha in early October 2022 when discussions took place on this subject.
During the Doha meeting, the U.S. delegation reportedly offered to recognize the Taliban government if it provided two airbases to be used by unarmed American drones in northern Afghanistan. According to the report, the U.S. offered that the drones would be under the control of Afghan Taliban intelligence officials and of U.S. intelligence.
According to the Roznama Ummat report, the U.S. delegation proposed that the drones would be used exclusively to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda and to monitor neighboring countries. The U.S. offered to give $3 billion in aid to the Afghan Taliban, expand business and trade with Afghanistan to resemble that U.S.-Vietnam trade, and remove U.S. bounties on Taliban leaders.
In Doha, Afghan Taliban intelligence chief Maulvi Abdul Haq Wasiq had told the U.S. delegation that the U.S. offer would be placed for discussion before the Rahbari Shura ("leadership council") of the Islamic Emirate.
Roznama Ummat noted in its November 8, 2022 report that the Rahbari Shura had discussed this matter "a few days ago" and "after a long debate and discussion the American offer was rejected." The Rahbari Shura commented that after exiting the region, the U.S. now seeks to return.
According to Roznama Ummat, the Taliban leaders were also directed to remain more cautious about American policies in the region.
Hizb-i-Islamic Afghanistan (HIA) chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar expressed support for the Taliban's decision to reject the U.S. offer, the Urdu daily said. Hekmatyar noted that after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, America's monitoring of Iran, Russia, Central Asia, and China has become weak and therefore the U.S. is seeking airbases in northern Afghanistan for its drones.
"By establishing an intelligence network, the U.S. wants to damage the Afghan government's increasing relations with Russia and China," Hekmatyar said.
Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), November 8, 2022.