By Arul Louis
New York– Under the looming threat of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, India has joined 11 countries to oppose any military solution to the conflict in that country and declare it will not recognise any government imposed by force, according to US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
He told reporters on Thursday that India participated in a meeting hosted by the US and Qatar at which the participating countries “agreed, first and foremost, that the peace process needs to be accelerated. And they also agreed, importantly, that they will not recognise any government that is imposed through military force.”
Significantly, Pakistan, which has patronised the Taliban, was also at the meeting and Price gave the impression that it was also in agreement with the declaration.
China and Turkey, as well as the United Nations and the European Union were among the participants, at the Doha meeting and they met also with the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Ignoring the peace deal with President Joe Biden’s administration, the Taliban has been sweeping though Afghanistan effectively taking Kandhar and Herat by Thursday night and imperilling the capital Kabul ahead of the US deadline to pull its troops out of the country by the end of the month.
Reversing the drawdown of troops, the US announced on Thursday that it was sending about 3,000 Army and Marine troops to help with the evacuation of its embassy personnel in Kabul.
“We expect to draw down to a core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan in the coming weeks. In order to facilitate this reduction, the Department of Defense will temporarily deploy additional personnel to Hamid Karzai International Airport,” Price told reporters.
But he insisted that the US will continue to have a diplomatic presence in Kabul.
“Let me be very clear about this: The embassy remains open and we plan to continue our diplomatic work in Afghanistan,” he said, adding, “Additionally, we will continue our focus on counterterrorism.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed the security situation in Afghanistan with President Ashraf Ghani and assured him that the US “remains committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic and security relationship” with his government, according to the Defence Department.
Austin reaffirmed that “a unified Afghanistan and cohesive” Afghan defence force are “the linchpin of peace and security in the face of a heavy fighting season,” it added. (IANS)