"The Taliban are now, as a practical matter, unwilling to engage with the United States, with the Afghans, with anybody, as a practical matter. And we're not sure when they'll emerge from this," the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told reporters at a news conference. (Agencies)
"We would still like to see that dialogue initiated, a dialogue which would involve the US and Taliban directly, but also would involve, in parallel, the Taliban and the Afghan Government or its High Peace Council," he said in his media interaction at the Washington Foreign Press centre on Monday.
"The Taliban don't seem to be ready for that for the moment. We're not giving up. We continue to hope that there will be a positive development at some point, but we can't predict when," Dobbins said. The top American diplomat said the US is working closely with all of Afghanistan's neighbours, most notably Pakistan, but not at all limited to Pakistan, in an effort to secure regional support for Afghanistan's stabilisation and for regional economic integration, which will make Afghanistan a crossroads and a regional hub for trade, investment, and throughout that region.
Dobbins said the US supports an Afghan-led peace process, which would involve negotiation between the government of Afghanistan and the High Peace Council that the Afghan government had established to conduct negotiations with the Taliban peace negotiations.
"The United States supports that. The United States has sought its own contacts with the Taliban in order to reinforce that message with them. Pakistan has also been helpful in this regard," he said. "There has been discussion about opening a Taliban political office in Doha. Some progress was made toward that. There was a false start back in June. The office is not currently open, but we would like to see it open. We would like to see Doha become a forum for negotiations about peace in Afghanistan, negotiations principally between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Taliban," the US diplomat said.
The Pakistani Taliban, have no direct role in that regard, he said. "We do understand that there was an all-parties conference in Pakistan. Certainly, the government of Pakistan has talked to us about this issue,” he added.
"The Taliban are now, as a practical matter, unwilling to engage with the United States, with the Afghans, with anybody, as a practical matter. And we're not sure when they'll emerge from this," the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told reporters at a news conference.