US envoy says Washington stands with Pakistan against terrorism

US special representative on Afghanistan also discusses ongoing repatriation of Afghans

Web Desk
Saturday, December 09, 2023
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West. — X/US4AfghanPeace

The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, Saturday conveyed Washington's resolve to "stand with Pakistan"in its fight against terrorism and challenges posed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Concluding his crucial two-day visit to Islamabad, the US envoy said he held meetings on regional security and protection of Afghan refugees, among other important matters.

Taking to his official account on X, formerly Twitter, the American diplomat also shared the details of his meetings with Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Asif Durrani, and Interior Secretary Aftab Akbar Durrani.

Earlier this week, the Foreign Office confirmed that senior US officials will visit Pakistan.

"The focus of these visits is not only Afghanistan. These visits are related to the multifaceted aspects of Pakistan-US relations," said FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, adding that Pakistan has decided to talk to America over several issues including the situation in Afghanistan.

In the meetings between Pakistan and US officials, reservations of both sides will be discussed. "We will also discuss the issues on which we have objections," she said.

"Departing Islamabad after productive two-day visit. Important conversations with JalilJilani, Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, AsifDurrani20, and MOI Secretary Durrani about grave security challenges posed by TTP as well as imperative to protect Afghan refugees," the US secretary wrote in his post today.

West, in another post, mentioned Washington's resolve to stand with Islamabad against terrorism in the region as well as touched upon matters about the ongoing repatriation of illegal foreigners.

"We are also grateful for close communication with Islamabad re: refugee protection issues, including collaboration with IOs and humane and dignified treatment," the official added.

To discuss the issues surrounding the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, who make up a large number of "illegal foreigners," the US envoy also spent valuable time with the leadership of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Islamabad during which supporting the most vulnerable and at-risk Afghans came under discussion.

"Proud that US has contributed $77M to UNHCR this year for these efforts, and $9M to IOM to respond to recent earthquakes," West wrote.

The American diplomat, during his two-day visit, also met with "courageous Afghan refugees to hear about their lives first-hand".

"Admire their courage under wrenching circumstances. We call for their protection and thank UNHCR, IOM, other partners for their efforts," his post on X read.

Prior to West, a US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes held meetings in the federal capital.

In the second phase of high-level talks between the two countries, Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Hurst will travel to Islamabad to meet key stakeholders in the country.