Diplomacy with Kabul serves ‘collective interests’: West


The US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, said diplomacy with the Islamic Emirate is in the interest of everyone and it is the only option at the moment for dealing with the situation in Afghanistan.

Talking virtually at an event at the Munich Security Conference on Afghanistan on Saturday, West said US diplomacy with the Islamic Emirate has been productive in areas such as girls’ education, while in other areas–such as the formation of an inclusive government–no progress has been made. “Our view is that we must all continue diplomacy with the Taliban, it serves our collective interests. At the moment that is our option looking ahead.”

West said the US is expecting the Islamic Emirate to deliver on its commitments over girls’ education and inclusive government. The formation of an inclusive government is not only the US’s call, but Iran, Pakistan, and the Central Asian states, China and Russia share the same call, West said. “We must see a dialogue with all segments of Afghan society unfold,” he said.

Norway Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt speaking at the same event said the Oslo talks were the first step of engaging with the Islamic Emirate toward the formation of an inclusive government and respect for human rights. “This was the first step; it was only the first step for more inclusive government because that is the solution,” she said. “We are also following very closely what they are going to do when it comes to girls’ right to education. We cannot continue financing their schools when those schools are only for boys. More inclusive government will be a pre-condition for any development in Afghanistan in my opinion.”

She also said Norway is reluctant to recognize the Islamic Emirate. “I did not meet them because we are reluctant to recognize them and will not do that,” she said.

Pakistan National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf said the world should take a pragmatic approach towards the Islamic Emirate to address the situation in the country. “The Taliban are there. They seem to have consolidated power enough to stay in power,” he said. “We cannot punish 35 million Afghans for 30 Taliban that some may not like. At the same time, Pakistan stands for inclusivity, for human rights, and for ensuring there is no terrorism from Afghan soil.”

Women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj answering a question over whether humanitarian assistance alone will be enough to end the humanitarian crisis in the country, said: “No, it will not be.” Saraj added: “It is like trying to stop bleeding from a gushing wound with a bandage. We cannot put a bandage on a gushing wound and expect for the bleeding to stop.”

She said to address the crisis it is necessary to help the wheel of the economy in the country to start moving by implementing development projects and activating factories.

Previous articlePakistan envoy: Foreign terrorists in Afghanistan pose threat
Next articleGroups seek to destabilize Bamiyan: Commander