• Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Blinken sees unity on Taliban after talks with Pakistan, China

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 23, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by John Minchillo-Pool/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

US SECRETARY of State Antony Blinken on Thursday (23) said he believed the world was united on pressing the Taliban after speaking with Pakistan, China and Russia, key players with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

Blinken met with his counterpart from Pakistan, the chief ally of the Taliban regime that was toppled by US troops in 2001, and held talks with ministers of the four veto-wielding Security Council members including China and Russia on Wednesday (22) evening.

The meetings took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose,” Blinken told reporters.

“The Taliban says that it seeks legitimacy, that it seeks support from the international community. The relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions it takes.”

Blinken reiterated US priorities for the Taliban including allowing Afghans and foreigners to leave, respecting the rights of women, girls and minorities, and not letting Afghanistan be used again by extremists such as Al-Qaeda.

The state department said Blinken highlighted “the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement” in talks with Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Pakistan has called for engagement with the Taliban and the unfreezing of Afghan assets but Qureshi said earlier in the week that there was no rush to recognise a new Taliban government.

Qureshi, opening his meeting with Blinken, said, “We have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability.”

China and Russia have both moved to engage with the Taliban but have also stopped short of recognition and have long standing concerns about Islamic extremism.

The Taliban swept through Afghanistan last month after president Joe Biden withdrew US troops, saying there was no point in extending America’s longest war beyond 20 years.

Eastern Eye

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