US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday the United States would work with the future government in Afghanistan, if it upheld the commitments it had made, especially on combating terrorism and honoring human rights.
"Now the Taliban has made a series of commitments, publicly and privately, including with regard to freedom of travel, combatting terrorism and allowing Afghanistan to be a launching point for terrorism directed at us or anyone else. Including as well upholding the basic rights of the Afghan people, to include women, girls and minorities,” said Blinken in an exclusive interview to TOLO News.
He also mentioned the Taliban’s claim of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and said the nature of relationship with the Afghan government would depend on the actions it took.
Blinken further said that the Taliban were seeking international legitimacy and support which would depend on “what it does, not just on its actions” adding the global community had set clear expectations from them.
TOLO News uploaded snippets of the interview on their Twitter account prior to its airing last night.
The Taliban have recently announced the interim government with Muhammad Hassan Akhund as the head of the caretaker government, while all the cabinet members were close associates of the Taliban.
The interviewer asked Blinken on the recent events in Afghanistan ranging from violence and arrest of journalists, gender-based segregation in universities, ban on protests and excluding women in the cabinet.
Commenting on the wave of events, Biden said the US would see whether the Afghan government “corrects course on any of these incidents of abusive conduct.”
“That’s going to be very important. Whether they are pre-policies, whether those policies are in fact carried out by people,” he said.
Responding to a question of Ashraf Ghani’s departure from Afghanistan, Blinken denied of any role or pre-knowledge of the US-backed president’s sudden exit from the country amid chaos.
“I was on the phone with President Ghani the night before he fled the country. In our conversation, we were talking about work that was being done in Doha, on the transfer of power, and in the absence of that succeeding. He [Ashraf Ghani] told me in the conversation the night before he fled is that he was prepared to fight to the death and in less than 24 hours he left Afghanistan,” Blinken told the TOLO News anchor.
“So, no I certainly didn’t know about it. And we certainly did nothing to facilitate it [his departure from Afghanistan].”
In related news, Ghani issued a statement saying allegations against him that he left the country with millions of dollars were “baseless”, while he repeated previous statements which he issued after leaving Kabul that it was the only way to “save” Afghanistan from protracted fighting.
“I apologise… I could not make it end differently,” read the statement.