Blinken urges immediate action in Afghanistan, says Taliban could make territorial gains

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 08, 2021, 11.29 AM(IST)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, February 26, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )

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On Sunday, the US government said that it is considering all available options on what could be done about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, adding that the government has made no decisions on the planned exit of US military from Afghanistan by May 1

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently called for urgent action in Afghanistan to prevent a "spring offensive by the Taliban". Blinken also claimed that the Taliban could make increased "territorial gains" in the country.

On Sunday, the US government said that it is considering all available options on what could be done about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, adding that the government has made no decisions on the planned exit of US military from Afghanistan by May 1.

TOLOnews published a letter by Blinken to Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, which claimed that the US is "considering the full withdrawal of forces by May 1st as we consider other options".

The letter further said that the United States is currently in pursuit of a high-level diplomatic effort "to move matters more fundamentally and quickly toward a settlement and a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire."

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In addition, the letter said that the US is urging the United Nations to call on foreign ministers from Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the United States in a bid "to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan."

In the event of US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Blinken worries that the security situation in the country could worsen by Taliban potentially making "rapid territorial gains".

Also read: US Afghanistan envoy proposes shake-up of Afghan peace process: Report

He also urged Ghani to "understand the urgency of [his] tone". On Saturday, Ghani said that his government was open to holding new elections while highlighting the importance of a new government emerging through the democratic process.

Since US-backed negotiations with the Taliban began last September, violence has increased in the country. According to local officials, the insurgents who were earlier in control of just rural areas are now advancing towards towns and cities.

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