US Govt Examining Possibility of Reopening Consulate in Afghanistan, Reports VoA

Friday, 02/02/2024

Voice of America (VoA) English service has reported that the United States is cautiously evaluating the possibility of reopening its consulate service in Afghanistan under the Taliban control, without officially recognising the group.

According to VoA, the issue has been included in a new strategic document by the US State Department.

The report indicates a potential shift in the US policy towards engaging with the Taliban to achieve various security, political, and economic objectives.

Voice of America states that the US State Department's strategy document mentions, "With the Taliban, we advocate for consular access, transparency and accountability for Americans.”

The document also emphasises on support for the work of the US Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs in securing the release of American hostages imprisoned in Afghanistan.

Following the fall of the previous government and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, the US closed its embassy in Afghanistan. Currently, the embassy operates under the supervision of a Chargé d'Affaires from Doha.

The new US State Department document reads, "Even as — and for as long as — the United States does not recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, we must build functional relationships that advance our objectives and further our understanding of the Taliban’s readiness and ability to fulfil their commitments to us."

According to the report, the US' new strategy encompasses four areas: counter-terrorism, economic aid, local engagement, and providing consular services to American citizens and assistance with the migration of Afghans to the US.

Voice of America's report further highlights that the US will continue discussions on the fundamental rights of the Afghan people, particularly the rights of women and girls.

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