February 2, 2023 12:10 am

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US Envoy For Afghanistan Warns Of Inevitable Civil War In Afghanistan

The question now is not whether or not, there will be a civil war, but when will it happen,” said Thomas West

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US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West warned about an upcoming civil war in Afghanistan.

“The question now is not whether or not, there will be a civil war, but when will it happen,” said Thomas West.  

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) on 29th September 2022, Thomas West criticized the behavior of the Taliban, who, according to him, did not fulfill the promises made at Doha. 

Thomas West advocated for a national political dialogue in Afghanistan so as to have an inclusive ruling regime in Afghanistan.

“Without a serious national political dialogue about the future of the country with Afghans who have genuine support within their communities, I really do fear – and I think this is a consensus – that what we see now is a pause in 44 years of conflict and that we could see a return to civil war anytime time. And within our analyst community, the question is not if but when we will see the re-emergence of conflict,” said Thomas West.

However, the Taliban has time and again denied the call for holding a national political dialogue in the country and has nailed down the demand made by the international community to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, citing that the current regime’s government is inclusive.

Denying the need for a national dialogue in Afghanistan, The deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Bilal Karimi, said that there is no need for a national dialogue in the country.

As per Tolo news, an Afghan digital TV network, Karimi said that “There is peace and security in the country. All the challenges that previously existed are currently solved. The time for negotiations was when there was war in the country and there were many sides—there was an invasion—now here is a central government and the people are in a calm situation.”

Thomas West had earlier served as a special advisor for South Asia to the US Vice President and was the Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the National Security Council from 2012 to 2015. From 2011 to 2012, he also served as the US State Department’s senior diplomat in Kunar Province of  Afghanistan.

When asked about the overall objective of the US in Afghanistan, Thomas West said that “We wish to see and support the emergence of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan that never again harbors terrorist threats to the United States, our allies, or any other country, and in which the rights of all its people – women and men, boys and girls – are upheld.” 

Thomas criticized the Taliban regime for violating the Doha agreement. He said that “the Taliban’s sheltering of Ayman al-Zawahiri in downtown Kabul was a flagrant violation of the Doha agreement. He was unquestionably a threat to the United States, and he had greater freedom to operate in Kabul than from wherever he came from. So his sheltering is unacceptable and is a major breach in our engagement with the Taliban.

Thomas further commented on the ongoing peace talk between the TTP and Pakistan and termed them as ‘failing’. “The Taliban have exceedingly close ties with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and there are negotiations ongoing. My sense is that they’re not proceeding very successfully, between Pakistan and TTP” said the US special envoy for Afghanistan.

On being asked how concerned is the United States about the resurgence of Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan today West replied that the US is most concerned about ISKP (Islamic State of Khorasan Province) as well as about groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ansar Allah who still have an active presence in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has a long history of internal chaos and it had remained destabilized for a long 40 years after the invasion of the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1979. Post-Soviet exit in the early 1990s from Afghanistan, the country was drawn into a worst civil war, and the Taliban as a politico-military organization rose up to power in Kabul.

There is an internal dissent in the Taliban, especially regarding the education and rights of women. Many prominent leaders and tribal organizations have orgainsed Jirgas and have raised their voices against the Taliban’s way of ruling.

Keeping note of the above argument and the presence of many terror outfits and the divergent interest of many countries in Afghanistan, Thomas West’s assessment of an upcoming civil war in Afghanistan cannot be completely ruled out.

Read Thoma West’s full interview

Shubham Joshi
Shubham Joshi
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