Six months after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the United States says Pakistan could have done more to help with a negotiated settlement. “Had Pakistan taken some of those steps in a more meaningful and consistent way, I think we would be in a different place today,” says Thomas West, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan. He was speaking at the US Institute of Peace. Admitting that “we don’t have a choice but to work with Pakistan on the road ahead”, West said Pakistan faces challenges vis-à-vis the new administration in Afghanistan. “They face challenges that have to do with the Taliban’s long standing relationship with TTP. And so when it comes to border management with the TTP representative government, I think Pakistan faces challenges”. Asked about Pakistan and China rejoicing at the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, West said “I think they do not benefit”. “There’s danger of movement of narcotics outside Afghanistan to neighbouring countries; there’s concern about the Taliban’s capability of being able to contain terrorists who may wish neighbours harm. So for those reasons, if I were a neighbour, I would worry about U.S. disengagement.”
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