US does not need Pakistan or anyone for Taliban talks: US special rep on Afghanistan

Picture source - AFP

US Special Representative on Afghanistan Thomas West said that the United States did not require Pakistan or any other nation to facilitate its interaction with the Afghan Taliban.

In an interview with the Voice of America, West refuted the idea that the United States required Pakistan’s airspace to reach Afghanistan.

When asked if Pakistan could help them have discussions with the Taliban, West replied, “To be honest, I don’t think we need a third country to support our engagement with the Taliban.”

“I am in very regular touch with the Taliban. There are other colleagues of mine in the US government who are also engaging. I think that dialogue needs to be direct. I don’t think we need a third country,” he added.

The US envoy stated that the entire Muslim world had “an incredibly important and credible role” to play in “engaging with the Afghans…with the Ulema as well as with the Taliban”, to make this happen rather than emphasizing Pakistan as the nation that could persuade the Taliban militants to fulfill their commitments.

West emphasized that in order to reach this goal, US envoys were already in contact with countries including Indonesia, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others.

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