On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Pakistan has a critical role in influencing the Taliban, and that the US expects Islamabad will play that role.
Secretary Blinken made these comments in an interview with different foreign news networks, came as Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, pay a crucial visit to Washington.
“Pakistan has a vital role to play in using its influence with the Taliban to do whatever it can to make sure that the Taliban does not seek to take the country by force,” the top US diplomat told the Times of India channel. “And it does have influence, and it does have a role to play, and we hope that it plays it,” he added.
Secretary Blinken met with External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday to wrap off his two-day visit to India. They discussed the current events in the region, especially in Afghanistan.
Secretary Blinken told ABC News that the entire world is hearing “deeply, deeply troubling” tales of crimes in Afghanistan as the US withdraws.
In an interview to Al Jazeera, the US Secretary of State warned that an Afghanistan that “does not respect the basic gains of the last 20 years, that Afghanistan will be a pariah in the international community.
The interviews, which were made public by the US secretary of state’s office in Washington, show increasing US concerns that the Taliban were intent to seize Kabul by force, rejecting international attempts to form a government that included all Afghan groups.
Despite its commitment to remove all US and Nato forces from Afghanistan by September 15, the Biden administration is using its diplomatic clout to avoid a Taliban takeover, and it sees Pakistan playing a role in this.
While Pakistan likewise wants to avoid a military takeover in Kabul, Prime Minister Imran Khan said this week on PBS News Hour that the United States’ decision to establish a timeline for troop withdrawal has restricted Islamabad’s choices.
The Taliban view the retreat as a triumph, according to the prime minister, and are less open to peace attempts than they would have been if the timeline had not been published.
The Pakistani delegation, which arrived in Washington three days ago, is busy presenting its case to top US officials, legislators, think-tank experts, and journalists.