Taliban’s letter to Congress misconstrued facts, says US envoy

KABUL: Responding to the Taliban’s letter to US Congress seeking the release of Afghanistan’s central bank assets, the United States special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, said that the letter misconstrued the facts related to Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

In a series of tweets, Thomas West said Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August when the US had frozen the Afghan central bank’s assets, made worse by war, years of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.

West said the US officials had made it clear to the Taliban years ago that taking power by force would result in non-humanitarian aid cut.

“U.S. officials made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans. Then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community – in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including for basic services – would all but cease. That is what occurred,” he said.

He maintained that the US will continue clear-eyed, candid diplomacy with the Taliban, adding that legitimacy and support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government and respect the rights of minorities, women – including equal access to education and employment.

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