Washington: At a Congressional hearing Tuesday where Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed Afghan withdrawal and the US future course, lawmakers pushed for a harder line on Pakistan given its ’duplicitous’ role in the war-plagued country.
At least two Congressmen, Democrat Bill Keating and Joaquin Castro, focused on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan terming it “duplicitous.”
They also mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public statements that Taliban have broken “the shackles of slavery’ after Kabul collapse last month, reported ANI.
Blinken told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours”.
“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harboring members of the Taliban […] It is one that’s also involved in different points [of] cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken said.
Asked by lawmakers if it is time for Washington to reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Blinken said the administration would soon be doing that.
“This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead — the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” he said.
He added that Pakistan needs to line up with the international community to force the Taliban regime to uphold the basic rights of Afghan people, women, and minorities.
“What we have to look at is an insistence that every country, to include Pakistan, make good on the expectations that the international community has of what is required of a Taliban-led government if it’s to receive any legitimacy of any kind or any support,” he testified.
Blinken echoed White House talking points blaming the Trump administration for the situation that President Joe Biden inherited in Afghanistan. “We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan,” he said. “We made the right decision in ending America’s longest-running war,” said Blinken.