Taliban welcome appointment of new US special envoy on Afghanistan

CAIRO (TASS): The Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) welcomes the appointment of Thomas West as the US Special Presidential Representative on Afghanistan, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Kahar Barki said Tuesday, praising the outcome of talks with the departing envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

“We saw good progress in negotiations with two US administrations, represented by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad. We look at the new Special Representative Thomas West with optimism. The full implementation of the Doha agreement [between the Taliban and Washington] will normalize the relations between the governments of both countries,” the spokesman tweeted Tuesday.

The National Resistance Front – the opposition to the Taliban – once again accused Khalilzad of conspiring with the radical movement.

“The US government must thoroughly investigate the clandestine deals between Zalmaty Khalilzad and the Taliban criminal syndicate. In the last three years, he betrayed both Afghanistan and the US, legalizing the terror group and providing it with too many concessions without gaining anything in exchange, the Front’s spokesman said on his Facebook page.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Khalilzad, who served as the presidential envoy since 2018, was stepping down, to be succeeded by West, who previously served as Khalilzad’s Deputy. Between 2012-2015, West served in Barack Obama’s National Security Council, when Joe Biden was US Vice President. During the same timeframe, West served as Vice President’s special counselor on South Asia.

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