Taliban's actions will define its relationship with world: Blinken after meeting Pakistan foreign minister

The US sees a “unity in approach” and “purpose” on the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and added that Taliban’s relations with the world community would depend on the actions it takes

Sep 24, 2021
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

The US sees a “unity in approach” and “purpose” on the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and added that Taliban’s relations with the world community would depend on the actions it takes. 

"I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose...The Taliban says that it seeks legitimacy, that it seeks support, from the international community,” Blinken said on Friday. “The relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions it takes," he added. 

Blinken met with Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and also held talks with ministers of the four other veto-wielding Security Council members including China and Russia on Wednesday evening.

He said that the 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.

A statement issued by the US State Department said Blinken highlighted "the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement" in talks with Qureshi.

Earlier in an interview with The Associated Press, Qureshi called for engagement with the Taliban and the unfreezing of Afghan assets, adding there was no rush to recognize a new Taliban government, a step opposed by Western nations.

He asked the world to be realistic and show patience but not to isolate the group, adding the international community needs to develop an incentive-based roadmap leading to the recognition of the Taliban.

The isolation like happened in the late 90s when the group last ruled Afghanistan, he said, had not worked well. Qureshi even asked Blinken not to repeat the mistakes of the past. China and Russia have both moved to engage with the Taliban but have also stopped short of recognition and had longstanding concerns about terrorism. 

The Taliban has not cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan. However, for months, it has been saying that they won’t let Afghan soil be used against any other nation. The group on Friday even went on to claim that al-Qaeda is not present in the country.  

Recently in a testimony to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary Blinken had said that Washington would reassess Pakistan’s role it played in the last 20 years in Afghanistan and what role his country wanted it to play in the future.

(SAM)