The US wants Afghanistan’s neighbours to refuse to recognise any Kabul administration that has been imposed by force.
The demand, delivered at a US State Department press conference on Tuesday afternoon, came ahead of a Troika Plus meeting in Doha on Wednesday.
The group, which includes the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan, aims to find a political solution to Afghanistan’s decades-long conflict.
During the press conference, US State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that two important meetings are taking place this week in Doha, bringing together officials from the region and beyond, as well as multilateral organisations.
The participants will press for a reduction in violence, a ceasefire and a “commitment by the part of these regional and broader governments and multilateral and international institutions not to recognise any government that is imposed by force,” Price said.
The talks in Qatar’s capital take place as the Taliban intensify their efforts to destabilise the government as international troops leave.
The Taliban captured three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan on Wednesday, giving them control of nine of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, is representing Washington in the Doha negotiations.
Pakistan has sent special envoy Muhammad Sadiq as well as Mansoor Khan, the country’s ambassador to Kabul. Zamir Kabulov, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan, and Yue Xiao Yong, the recently appointed Chinese envoy to Afghanistan, are representing their respective nations.
Despite their disagreements, all of these countries have a significant interest in bringing peace to Afghanistan and are seeking a regional consensus on the Afghan issue.
In the press briefing, Price said that Khalilzad had been sent to Doha to “advance a collective international response to what can only be termed as a rapidly deteriorating security situation”.
However, the US media claimed on Tuesday that Khalilzad was in Afghanistan to advise the Taliban against seeking a ground combat triumph.
He will “deliver a blunt message: A Taliban government that comes to power through force in Afghanistan will not be recognised,” media reported.
The Afghan-born US ambassador warned earlier this week in a Voice of America interview that if the Taliban took over the nation by force, “they will become a pariah state.” “..
He reminded the insurgents that “there must be a political solution, a political agreement for lasting peace, and we will stay with it. We are committed to staying with it until that goal is achieved.”
Khalilzad, the architect of the 2020 US-Taliban deal that opened the way for the Western withdrawal, warned of a “protracted-war” if the Afghan government and Taliban concentrate on a “military option” to end hostilities in another interview with Radio Free Europe.
He said that the lack of progress in peace talks has led “both sides to focus on a military solution”.
The Extended Troika, a Moscow-led group, meets on a regular basis to try to reach a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.
The Troika discussions came ahead of a meeting of Afghanistan’s near neighbours on Tuesday. This summit was also open to Russia, the United Nations, and the United States.
Separate meetings with Doha-based Taliban and Kabul government officials are also being held by the Extended Troika in order to speed up the slow-moving intra-Afghan peace negotiations.
According to Al Jazeera TV, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office said that the organisation is dedicated to the Doha talks and does not want them to fail.
A member of the Afghan government delegation in Doha, on the other hand, requested a mediator in the talks “to determine the seriousness of the parties.”
However, a member of the Afghan government delegation in Doha demanded a mediator in the negotiations “to determine the seriousness of the parties”.
According to the Pentagon, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday and “expressed his desire in continuing to strengthen the US-Pakistan relationship and building upon our numerous shared interests in the region.”
“Secretary Austin and General Bajwa discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, regional security and stability, and the bilateral defence relationship more broadly,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby added.
In response to a journalist’s inquiry, Kirby said that the US continues to have discussions with Pakistani authorities regarding safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
“We are mindful that those safe havens are only providing a source of more insecurity and more instability inside Afghanistan. We are not bashful about having that discussion with Pakistani leaders,” he said.
Earlier today, I spoke with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa. We discussed our mutual interest in regional stability, and I reiterated my desire to continue improving the important U.S. – Pakistan relationship. pic.twitter.com/RzVAM6qqhW
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 9, 2021
In response to Afghanistan’s accusations before the United Nations Security Council, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised the use of Pakistan as a scapegoat for the country’s issues.
“It is unfortunate to make Pakistan a scapegoat for the failures of others; the issues of governance and meltdown of Afghan National Defence Forces need to be looked into — and not just start pointing fingers at Pakistan,” he said at a recent briefing in Islamabad.