U.S. special envoy, Marc Grossman’s recent visit to Qatar and apparent meeting with Taliban representatives has caused an uproar in the already unstable U.s-pakistan relationship. While State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland confirmed that the U.S diplomat was in Qatar, she stopped short of naming the Taliban group he held talks with. During a press conference, she also reiterated Pakistan’s involvement in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and dispelled any myths regarding the U.S sidelining Pakistan in Afghan talks. She reiterated US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s remarks regarding the importance and involvement of Pakistan, not only to the peace process in Afghanistan but also to the stability in the South Asian region, at large. She stated that Ambassador Grossman was ready to visit Pakistan during his recent trip to the region but Pakistan, currently reviewing its relationship with the U.S., advised the department of the bad timing. Nuland confirmed to the media that this was normal diplomatic practice and relations between the two countries were heading towards a good footing. Meanwhile, Pakistan has assured the U.S. that the ambassador would be welcome to visit in the near future, when cordial relations are once again established.
U.S officials have also dropped their adamant stance of establishing a Western style democracy in Afghanistan and are now pursuing engaged dialogue with representatives of the Taliban, who recently opened a political liaison office in Qatar that will serve as a base for conducting reconciliation talks. Nuland stated that the U.S is now only looking for a commitment to peace, from the Taliban.