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US Envoy Speaks to Taliban in Islamabad

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The new US envoy to Afghanistan, Thomas West, will meet with the Taliban for the first time on Thursday. He and Chinese and Russian diplomats meet Amir Khan Muttaqi, who has appointed the Taliban as foreign minister.

 

The meeting is in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. According to Pakistani officials, the envoys are primarily talking about humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and the possibility of expanding the Taliban regime to other political movements. West will also visit Russia and India.

The US overthrew the Taliban with an invasion in 2001. The Sunni extremist movement has since tried to regain power by force. The battle between US forces and the Taliban ended early last year with a peace deal between Washington and the Taliban. But Western powers were taken by surprise by the sudden collapse of the pro-Western government in Kabul. At the end of August, the last American troops left Kabul airport after a chaotic evacuation of people from that airport.

US envoy West did not attend a security conference on Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday. In addition to the host country, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan discuss the threat of terrorists in Afghanistan. With the new rulers, that country would pose a more significant threat to the entire region.

China and Pakistan were also invited, but they said they could not come like the US. The US is also very concerned that Afghanistan will become a magnet and base for jihadists. A terrorist group from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, carries out attacks there.

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