Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla met US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West

Newly appointed US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, is in Delhi after his visit to Pakistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The American envoy met with India’s foreign secretary Harsh V. Shringla and national security advisor Ajit Doval.

In a tweet, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi wrote: “Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla met US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West @US4AfghanPeace and exchanged views on recent developments and issues of common interest in Afghanistan.”

While the discussions focussed on the current developments in Afghanistan, sources said the topics included the recently held Regional Security Dialogue of NSAs on Afghanistan in New Delhi, movement of people in and out of Afghanistan, coordinating global efforts on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, regional security issues, and other bilateral and international issues of mutual interest.

India recently held the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan, which saw the participation of security chiefs of the five Central Asian nations ( Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), Iran and Russia.

Before arriving in New Delhi, ambassador West visited Islamabad during November 11-13. A press release of the US embassy in Pakistan said: “In meetings of the extended Troika, participants discussed the way forward on Afghanistan. West also held bilateral meetings with Pakistani government officials in which both parties emphasized the importance of pressing the Taliban to uphold its commitments to counterterrorism, the right of free passage for those who wish to depart Afghanistan, and the rights of all Afghan citizens, including minorities and women.”

The focus of America has been that of movement of Afghans in and out of the country and humanitarian aid reaching the people directly.

The visit comes as secretary of state Antony R. Blinken held a virtual meeting on November 15 with representatives of #AfghanEvac, an umbrella coalition of more than 100 self-organized groups of veterans, frontline civilians, social workers, attorneys, advocates, non-profits, Congressional staff, and private sector employees.

“Secretary Blinken thanked the organizations represented on the call for their tireless work, dedication and for their partnership with the State Department to help facilitate relocation efforts. The secretary noted the importance of their voices as leaders to continue to hold the government accountable and highlighted the invaluable ongoing, regular coordination between State, the Department of Defence, and #AfghanEvac,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.