US envoy to Afghanistan arrives in Islamabad

January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West has arrived here, as both governments ‘hope to work with counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to Afghan women and girls’ rights and their access to vital aid’.

Thomas comes a few days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Special Representative Ambassador Zamir Kabulov visited Islamabad. The Foreign Office has confirmed the arrival of Thomas West. Thomas comes at a time when Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is visiting Moscow and his deputy Minister of State Ms Hina Rabbani Khar is in Geneva.

“The Taliban’s recent edicts have presented the international community with extraordinary challenges as we seek to support the Afghan people and protect our interests”, Thomas West tweeted as he left Washington.

Officials say this visit will see Thomas West meeting with Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan and Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Sadiq Khan. Pakistan’s Charge d’ Affaires Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani is still in Pakistan as the government awaits improvement in the security situation in Kabul before he returns.

Afghanistan was one of the important items on the agenda in Moscow when Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his Russian counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks followed by a joint press briefing.

“Regional issues, including situation in Afghanistan & cooperation in SCO, were also discussed”, said the Foreign Office.

The last time Thomas West was in Islamabad was in October last year where he called on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Afghanistan. They emphasized the need to improve the Afghan economy and prosperity.

Also just a few days ago, Russian Zamir Kabulov called on Khar where the two sides stressed importance of working together to promote regional peace and stability; need for practical engagement with the interim Afghan government and promote regional solutions through Moscow Format & Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office had said that a peaceful neighborhood remained a strategic imperative for Pakistan. The minister of state stressed that Afghanistan, with its location as a bridge between Central and South Asia, was central towards achieving the full potential of socio-economic development and regional connectivity. She reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to working with other regional countries towards this end.