US Special Envoy: Political dialogue central to solving Afghanistan’s problems

The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West said on Wednesday that despite the different priorities shared in the Doha meeting, all attendees shared a common consensus that political dialogue among the people of Afghanistan is a central part of the solution to challenges in the country.

In a series of tweets, West said that the Doha meeting was not about recognition of the Taliban, but rather focused on “identifying shared interests and how we collectively advance them: on terrorism, repression of women and girls, devastating humanitarian crisis, and narcotics outflows, among others.”

Regarding the UN work in Afghanistan, the US envoy stated that the organization will continue its vital humanitarian work and engagement with the Taliban.

He further stated that he received “critical advice” beforehand from women of Afghanistan living across the country.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres hosted a closed-door meeting with over 20 special representatives of countries involved in Afghanistan affairs in Doha, Qatar on Monday and Tuesday. The aim of the meeting, according to the UN Chief, was to reach a unified international approach to the crises in Afghanistan.

According to the UN, the meeting was attended by special envoys of China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, the UN Chief said that “to achieve our objective, we cannot disengage with the Taliban” suggesting “it is difficult to overestimate the gravity of the situation” in the country.