US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Thursday, expressed his belief that the world is united over pressurizing the Taliban into turning their lofty promises into tangible action.
After meeting with ministers of Pakistan, China, Russia, France, and the UK on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Blinken said, “I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose.”.
The top US diplomat said, “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 that the US hopes that the Taliban will allow Afghans and other foreigners to leave, respect the rights of women, girls and minorities, and not let Afghanistan be used again by extremists such as Al Qaeda.
The US State Department said Blinken also highlighted “the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement” in talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has called for engagement with the Taliban and the unfreezing of Afghan assets. However, earlier this week, Qureshi said that there was no rush to recognise a new Taliban government, a step opposed by Western nations.
While opening his meeting with Blinken, Qureshi said, “We have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability.”
Pakistan along with veto-wielding China and Russia are considered to be key players with regards to the Afghan situation.
While Pakistan has been inevitably involved in neighbouring Afghanistan during the ill-fated War on Terror, China and Russia have also moved to engage with the Taliban in recent times. However, both superpowers have stopped short of recognising the Taliban regime, reiterating longstanding concerns about the group’s extreme religious approach.
The Taliban seized Kabul in a lightening offensive under two weeks swept after US President Joe Biden withdrew US troops, saying there was no point in extending America’s longest war beyond 20 years.