According to Thomas West, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Washington does not require Pakistan or any other country to facilitate communication with the Afghan Taliban.
West denied the need for a third party to negotiate with the Taliban government in an interview with Voice of America Urdu, while confirming a recent two-day meeting with Taliban representatives in Doha.
“To be honest, I don’t think we need a third country to facilitate our engagement with the Taliban,” West said when asked if Pakistan could help them with their talks with the ruling Afghan Taliban.
“My colleagues in the US government and I are working on it,” he said. In response to another question, West denied that the US required Pakistan’s airspace for operational access to Afghanistan.
The US special representative emphasized the importance of continuing diplomacy with the Taliban government to ensure that they kept their commitments to combat terrorism and provide equal rights to all Afghans.
In reference to Pakistan, West stated that the entire Muslim world, not just Pakistan, played an extremely important and credible role in establishing a relationship with Afghans.
During his three-day visit to Islamabad, the US Special Representative said he discussed “our common interests in Afghanistan with the authorities as an important partner state.”
West confirmed a two-day meeting with Taliban representatives, saying it was the first time US officials had met with the Taliban delegation in Doha since the withdrawal last August.