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Jha Washington: The US has mentioned it’s taking a look at quite a few “choices” on its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the August 31 withdrawal deadline. August 31 is the cut-off date set by both the US and the Taliban for America’s pullout from the war-torn country.

“With regard to our own potential presence going forward after the 31st, we’re looking at a number of options, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “I’m sure we’ll have more on that in the coming days and weeks, but we’re looking at a variety of options, he said, referring to America’s diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal deadline.

Over the next few days, Blinken said, the focus of the US is on getting American citizens, other Afghan partners, third-country partners — who were working in Afghanistan with the US — out of Afghanistan and to safety. And for that purpose, “whether we like it or not”, it’s necessary to work with the Taliban, who’re “largely in charge of Afghanistan”, to try to facilitate and ensure the departure of all those who want to leave, Blinken said.

“And that has actually been something that we’ve been focused on from the beginning of this operation, because as a practical matter it advances our interests, he added. According to Blinken, the US has been engaged with the Taliban for some time diplomatically going back years in efforts, to try to advance a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.

There’s still talks and conversations underway even now between the Taliban and former members of the Afghan government with regard, for example, to a transfer of power and some inclusivity in a future government. I think it’s in our interest where possible to support those efforts, he said. Going forward, Blinken said, the US will judge its engagement with any Taliban-led government in Afghanistan based on one simple proposition: America’s interests, “and does it help us advance them or not”.

“If engagement with the federal government can advance the enduring pursuits we can have in counterterrorism, the enduring curiosity we’ll have in attempting to assist the Afghan individuals who want humanitarian help, within the enduring curiosity now we have in seeing that the rights of all Afghans, particularly girls and ladies, are upheld, then we’ll do it, he mentioned. But essentially, the character of that engagement and the character of any relationship relies upon totally on the actions and conduct of the Taliban, Blinken asserted.

If a future authorities upholds the essential rights of the Afghan folks, if it makes good on its commitments to make sure that Afghanistan can’t be used as a launching pad for terrorist assaults directed towards us and our allies and companions, and within the first occasion, if it makes good on its commitments to permit individuals who wish to depart Afghanistan to go away, that’s a authorities we are able to work with, he mentioned. If it doesn’t, we are going to ensure that we use each applicable software at our disposal to isolate that authorities, and as I mentioned earlier than, Afghanistan will likely be a pariah, mentioned the highest American diplomat.

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