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Afghan situation: After Pakistan, Blinken meets counterparts from Russia, China

September 25, 2021
Afghan situation: After Pakistan, Blinken meets counterparts from Russia, China

UNITED NATIONS: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he believed the world was united on pressing the Taliban after speaking with Pakistan, China and Russia, key players with Afghanistan’s new rulers.Blinken met Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with his counterpart from Pakistan, and held talks with ministers of the four other veto-wielding Security Council members including China and Russia on Wednesday evening.

"I think there is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose," Blinken told reporters. "The Taliban say that they seek legitimacy, that they seek support, from the international community. The relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions they take," he said.

Blinken reiterated US priorities for the Taliban includingallowing Afghans and foreigners to leave, respecting the rights of women, girls and minorities, and not letting Afghanistan be used again by extremists such as al-Qaeda.

The State Department said Blinken highlighted "the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement" in talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Pakistan has called for engagement with the Taliban and the unfreezing of Afghan assets, but Qureshi said earlier in the week that there was no rush to recognise a new Taliban government, a step opposed by Western nations.

Qureshi, opening his meeting with Blinken, said, "We have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability." China and Russia have both moved to engage with the Taliban but have also stopped short of recognition and have longstanding concerns about extremism.