The United States is concerned about the escalation of Islamic State attacks in Khorasan (IKH) – an arm of the jihadist group in Afghanistan – and remains deeply concerned about al Qaeda’s continued presence in the country, the deputy spokesman for reconciliation said today. at US State Department Tom West.
The official also expressed concern that the winter could complicate the departure from the country of Afghans, former associates of US forces wishing to leave Afghanistan, as Kabul airport is still not fully operational.
West spoke by telephone to reporters in Brussels where he was briefing US NATO allies on Washington talks with the Taliban and consulted on stabilizing Afghanistan after the Islamist movement seized power in August. the withdrawal of US military forces.
The U.S. official, who is due to travel to Pakistan, India and Russia for further consultations, said the United States was preparing for the next round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, but did not give an exact date.
As winter approaches, the already impoverished state of south-central Asia emerges from a total war and heads into a humanitarian crisis as millions of people face an increasing range of hunger amid rising food prices, drought and a collapsing economy, fueled by a lack of fluidity.
The Taliban are also facing increasing attacks from their ideological enemy, the IKH.
West said Washington was “concerned about the escalation of IKH attacks and we want the Taliban to succeed in the fight against them. When it comes to other (armed) organizations, look, al Qaeda continues to be there and we are very concerned about this”.
“Al Qaeda’s presence” is an issue that is of constant concern to us in our dialogue with the Taliban, “he said.
US officials believe that the Islamic State in Khorasan could develop the ability to launch attacks outside Afghanistan within six to 12 months and that al Qaeda could do the same within one to two years.
In addition, West stressed that Washington is not currently seriously considering reopening its embassy in Kabul and wants to see the Taliban prove that they are behaving responsibly before the United States considers this option.
“We want to see a responsible and predictable behavior on the part of the Taliban that persists” before we consider our options on the diplomatic front, “he explained.
The United States, like the rest of the international community, has not recognized the government formed by the Islamists since taking power.
U.S. demands, before considering any diplomatic action against the Taliban, include respect for human rights, especially women, the fight against “terrorist organizations” and the possibility for Americans and Afghans who have collaborated with US forces. They have been in Afghanistan for 20 years and are now afraid of retaliation, to leave the country unhindered.
On this last point, Thomas West said that the Taliban “in general have kept their commitment” in recent weeks.
The “real challenge” is actually the “logistical support”, “especially as we enter the winter months”, he warned.
In this case, at Kabul airport, which has suffered heavy damage, some special commercial flights have resumed but are performed only during the day, in an irregular manner, “with great financial and operational risks for the airlines,” the US officials underlined. .
“Many runway lights do not work and it is not certain that there is a possibility that the airport will remain in operation during the winter,” he added.
“We want a speedy resumption of regular international flights,” but that also requires the Taliban to make progress with potential partners “in managing the airport, West insisted.
Discussions with Qatar and Turkey on this issue have not led to a substantive solution.
Source From: Capital