The United States and the United Kingdom warned their citizens on Monday to stay away from hotels in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, citing “security threats”. The governments have particularly asked their citizens to not stay at the Serena Hotel, which is popular among foreign tourists.

“US citizens, who are at or near the Serena Hotel, should leave immediately,” the State Department said.

The UK Foreign Office also requested its citizens not to travel or stay in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul’s Serena Hotel.

On Friday, an explosion at a mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province killed at least 50 people. The Islamic State-Khorasan, an affiliate of the terrorist group ISIS in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

US-Taliban talks in Doha were ‘candid’

The first in-person meeting since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August was conducted on Sunday between senior US officials and a Taliban delegation in Qatar’s capital Doha. The US called the discussions “candid and professional”.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the talks in Doha were focused on concerns related to security, terrorism, and human rights. The representatives of the two countries also discussed safe passage for Americans, other foreign nationals and Afghans.

The Taliban and the US officials also discussed the inclusion of women and girls in all aspects of society in Afghanistan.

The diplomat said that America and the Taliban also discussed “the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people”.

A statement by the Taliban on Sunday night said that they would cooperate with charitable groups in delivering “humanitarian assistance to those deserving transparently”, the BBC reported. The Taliban also promised to “facilitate the principled movement of foreign nationals”.

On August 17, the US had frozen assets worth nearly $9.5 billion belonging to Da Afghanistan Bank to keep it out of the Taliban’s hands, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, the Taliban on Saturday asked the US to lift the ban on Afghan central bank reserves, Reuters reported, citing a report from Al-Jazeera.

Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also asked the US to provide vaccines against Covid-19 to Afghan citizens.