Thomas West says Afghanistan is still a priority for Washington

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West says Washington has not forgotten Afghanistan but that the Islamic Emirate (IEA) needs to fulfil its commitments in order to be recognized as the legitimate government by the international community.

In an interview with Ariana News, West said the leaders of the Islamic Emirate can gain global legitimacy by fulfilling their obligations including allowing women to work and all girls to go to school.

West said that it would be difficult for IEA leaders to gain legitimacy unless the leaders of the caretaker government in Afghanistan change their ways.

“I do not think that with the behavior of the Taliban (IEA), they will gain legitimacy; the Taliban (IEA) will have the opportunity to gain legitimacy by implementing their commitments step-by-step, but the United States will follow a regular process; although the talks are officially stopped, but contacts with the Taliban (IEA) continue,” West said.

The US diplomat called on the leaders of the Islamic Emirate to allow girls of all ages to go to school and women to work, and said that if the heads of the caretaker government did so, they would take a step towards global legitimacy.

“Contrary to their commitments, the Taliban (IEA) did not allow girls to go to school, but they still have a chance. Our hopes have not been completely dashed; Taliban (IEA) leaders pledged to us at the China summit, and we still hope they let girls go to school and women work,” West added.

Asked if the issue of Afghanistan is a priority for the United States and the international community, West said: “Yes, Afghanistan is still a priority for the United States, and the US leadership is still paying attention to Afghanistan. No, Afghanistan has not been forgotten, even the issue of Afghanistan is a priority for us over Ukraine.”

He also said the US military presence in Afghanistan over the past 20 years managed to defeat and destroy terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.