TTP attacks in Pakistan a ‘major concern’: US Afghan envoy


WASHINGTON: US State Department’s Special Representative and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan Thomas West said that Pakistan has been dealing with increasing attacks led by banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), calling it a major concern.

Speaking during an interview, West said that Pakistan is an important partner of the United States and the two countries will continue to work together.

West thanked Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for 40 years on his country’s behalf. He also thanked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for facilitating the refugees.

West said that he had a two-and-a-half day stay in Pakistan two weeks ago, during which he discussed mutual interests in Afghanistan with the Islamabad authorities.

“It was a pleasure to speak with security and civilian officials in Islamabad,” he added.

Sharing the details of his meetings in Pakistan, West said that the challenges faced by the country in dealing with the banned outfit were discussed.

He said that the same concerns were discussed in a meeting with Minister of the State on Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, but said that it is not a new challenge.

West said that Pakistan has been dealing with the challenges linked with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“The [increase in] attacks led by banned TTP is a challenge that Pakistan has been dealing with,” he said.

Partnership with Afghan Taliban ruled out

While speaking about the US ties with the Afghan Taliban, the special representative said: “I don’t believe that there will be any practical partnership between the US and Taliban.”

West pointed out that the Taliban’s harbouring of Ayman al-Zawahiri (former Al Qaeda chief) was a clear violation of the Doha agreement.

Moreover, he said that his country doesn’t need a third party to facilitate the US-Taliban links as he and other US officials are in direct contact with the group.

“I believe that there should be a direct dialogue,” he said.

West said that the American officials and the Taliban representatives met for the first time in a personal capacity in Doha.

He said that matters related to terrorism, the Taliban’s efforts to fight against Daesh, and concerns regarding Al Qaeda were discussed in detail with the group’s representatives.

“The US expressed concerns regarding the human rights in Afghanistan in talks with the Taliban,” said West.

He added that the World Bank has made an effort to provide $1.5 billion for the Afghan people.