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Lasting peace in Afghanistan possible only through political solution, says White House

Secretary of State Tony Blinken. File   | Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. administration, led by President Joe Biden, believes lasting peace in Afghanistan is possible only through a political solution, the White House has said, noting the ongoing dialogue between the government of the war-torn country and the Taliban.

"I would note that there are ongoing political negotiations and discussions that we certainly support between Afghan leaders, members of the Afghan government, and the Taliban," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Friday, amidst a wave of violence from the Taliban.

 

"We believe a political solution is the only outcome to lasting peace in Afghanistan, but we will continue to provide support to the government in the form of humanitarian support, security support, training. We will also continue to encourage them to take a leading role in defending and protecting their own people," she said.

In an interview to MSNBC, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the US is determined that Afghanistan does not become a training ground for terrorism directed against the United States or its allies and partners.

"That's exactly why we went there in the first place, which is important to remember. We were attacked on 9/11, we went to Afghanistan to get the folks -- who attacked us -- to bring them to justice. Osama bin Laden was brought to justice 10 years ago, and the group, al-Qaida, responsible for those attacks has been dramatically diminished in terms of its capacity to attack anyone from Afghanistan,” he said.

“We’re going to make sure that we keep our eyes on that. If we see the threat re-emerging, we’re going to be in a position to take action against it. But that’s why we were there, and now we're 20 years and a trillion dollars and thousands of Americans lost later in that campaign. I think the reason we went there is what we have to keep the focus on, and we've largely succeeded in doing what we needed to do," Mr. Blinken said.

The United States, he said, does have deep concerns about the actions the Taliban is taking, indicating that it may be trying to take the country by force.

Senior American military officers have admitted that the Taliban has gained “strategic momentum,” with their forces now controlling about half of Afghanistan’s more than 400 district centres.

Mr. Blinken said Afghanistan would become a pariah state, if the Taliban took it by force.

"It would not get the assistance that it's looking for and that the Taliban says it wants if it has any responsibility for the country. It would not get the support from the international community that it says it wants. We're actively engaged in diplomacy because there is no military solution to this conflict that's been going on for more than 40 years in Afghanistan, and we're working to try to bring that to an end," he said.

US Central Command, which is in charge of Afghanistan, said recently that the withdrawal of US forces is more than 95 per cent complete.

President Joe Biden has said the withdrawal would be complete by the end of August.

Approximately 650 troops are set to remain in the country to secure the US diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, including the embassy, and to assist in securing Kabul's international airport, which is a necessary facility for the movement of diplomats.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 3:31:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/lasting-peace-in-afghanistan-possible-only-through-political-solution-says-white-house/article35503312.ece

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