Wary world watches Afghan situation after US pullout

Washington/Kabul/Delhi: Every move made by the Taliban in the coming weeks will be analyzed in several time zones, as governments everywhere grapple with the complicated question of how closely they should cooperate with the group.

The Taliban will have to earn international legitimacy and support by meeting their commitments on freedom of travel, counterterrorism, respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities, and forming an inclusive government, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Blinken said the US will engage with the Taliban not on the basis of what a Taliban-led government says, but what it does to live up to its commitments, PTI reported.

The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support. Our message is: any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned, Blinken said in an address to the nation hours after the US concluded its mission to Afghanistan early Tuesday.

The US completed the withdrawal of its forces from Kabul, ending 20 years of war that culminated in the Taliban’s return to power on August 15.

Blinken said the US engaged with the Taliban during the past few weeks for evacuation operations.

Going forward, any engagement with a Taliban-led government in Kabul will be driven by one thing only: our vital national interests.

He said the US will continue its humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

As for India,  its main concern in Afghanistan is the use of Afghan soil for terrorism or anti-India activities and it is too early to talk of issues such as any possible recognition of the Taliban regime, the external affairs ministry said on Thursday. The ministry has acknowledged that Taliban has initiated dialogue with India in Qatar over safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded over there. Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha.

“The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, on the request of the Taliban side,” said the ministry.

Meanwhile, long-time Taliban ally Haqqani Network looks at Kashmir as being beyond its “jurisdiction” and, hence, any interference there would be against its stated policy, the outfit’s scion Anas Haqqani said in an interview with CNN-News18 on Tuesday. He said that the new regime in Afghanistan wanted a “good relationship with India” and was “ready to forget everything and take the relationship forward.”

The Haqqani Network is an Afghan guerrilla insurgent group that has been part of the Taliban since 1995. Anas is the youngest son of the late founder of the outfit, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

In another development, fighting is ongoing between Taliban fighters and the forces of a resistance front led by Ahmad Massoud in Panjshir province,  and Al-Qaeda has joined the Taliban. The Taliban confirmed that both sides have suffered casualties, Tolo News reported.

Image courtesy of (Photos: Wikipedia)

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