Thomas West: US supports engagement with Taliban on critical issues

The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has said that the US supports the policy of engagement with the Taliban on critical issues, including the economy, human rights, security, and intra-Afghan dialogue.

In an interview with the BBC Pashto, West emphasized that for Afghanistan to stand on its own two feet, women must be educated and contribute to the economy. He said that any changes to Taliban policies will be made at the request of Afghans, not as a result of foreign requests.

The US special envoy praised the Taliban for their efforts to reduce terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. However, he noted that the Taliban’s policies are making it very difficult for aid organizations to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.

Earlier, the US Special Envoy for Afghan Women and Girls, Rina Amiri, has been criticized by US lawmakers and Afghanistan women’s rights activists for her remarks regarding direct engagement with the Taliban.

Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the US officials meeting with the Taliban need to stop. He added that the people of Afghanistan do not want more US engagement with the Taliban and that it is only normalizing the Taliban regime.