US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said that the Taliban misconstrued facts in its recent letter to the US Congress warning of humanitarian consequences if the United States fails to unfreeze more than USD 9 billion in Afghan assets.
“The Taliban’s letter to Congress earlier this week misconstrued the facts regarding Afghanistan”s economic and humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, and the pandemic,” Mr West said in a tweet on Friday.
He also emphasized that US 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.”
1/5 The Taliban’s letter to Congress earlier this week misconstrued the facts re Afghanistan’s economic & humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, & the pandemic.
— U.S. Special Representative Thomas West (@US4AfghanPeace) November 19, 2021
Although Thomas West asserted that the US will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid.
“We have provided USD 474 million this year, applaud the robust efforts of allies and partners in this space, and are making every effort to help the UN and humanitarian actors scale up to meet needs this winter,” said Thomas West.
Emphasizing that the US will continue clear-eyed, candid diplomacy with the Taliban, he said that legitimacy and support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, and respect the rights of minorities, women, and girls – including equal access to education and employment.