Washington: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West will travel to India this month to consult on humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, the State Department said on Wednesday.
In a statement, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said West's trip will be part of a three-nation tour including visits to Japan and the United Arab Emirates to discuss ways to address humanitarian challenges in the war-ravaged country. "Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West will travel to Japan, India, and the United Arab Emirates December 1-8," Price said.
He said US Special Representative West will consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans' rights, and shared security concerns.
"Special Representative West will also engage with the Afghan diaspora, including human rights, business, political, and media leaders on how to address these challenges," the statement added.
This visit comes as the UN mission in Afghanistan has urged the Taliban to take immediate steps to end violence against women and the broader deterioration of women's rights as a vital part of efforts to establish a meaningful and sustainable peace.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 and imposed policies severely restricting basic rights--particularly those of women and girls. They dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary school.
The Taliban have carried out broad censorship, limiting critical reporting, and have detained and beaten journalists, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The Afghan economy collapsed after August 2021, as millions of people lost salaries when the US, World Bank, and other donors stripped the Central Bank of Afghanistan of its foreign assets and access to financial assistance.
Over 90 per cent of the Afghan population faces serious food insecurity, along with a lack of medicine and a rise in malnutrition-related disease.