Blinken says US will assess Pakistan ties on Afghanistan’s future

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about infrastructure investment at the University of Maryland
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about infrastructure investments at the University of Maryland's A James Clark School of Engineering in College Park
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the University of Maryland A. James Clark speaks about infrastructure investments at the School of Engineering, College Park, MD, US, August 9, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via Reuters

September 13, 2021

By Patricia Zengrell and Humayra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will look at its relationship with Pakistan in the coming weeks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, to prepare for what role Washington will play in Afghanistan’s future.

In the first public hearing in Congress about Afghanistan since the fall of the US-backed Afghan government last month, Blinken told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has “majority interests that are in conflict with ours.”

Blinken said, “It is he who continues to make his bets about the future of Afghanistan, this is one that includes harboring members of the Taliban … it is he who is at various points with us against terrorism.” involved in collaboration.”

Asked by lawmakers whether it was time for Washington to re-evaluate its relationship with Pakistan, Blinken said the administration would do so soon.

“This is one of the things that we are going to see in the coming days and weeks – the role that Pakistan has played in the last 20 years, but also the role that we want to see in the coming years and to do so. What would he have to do,” he said.

The United States withdrawal from Afghanistan ended with a hastily organized airlift that left thousands of American-allied Afghans behind and was halted by a suicide bombing outside Kabul’s airport that killed 13 American soldiers and several Afghans. .

The United States and the West are in a difficult balancing act after the Taliban victory – Islamist groups are reluctant to recognize the reality that they must join them to prevent an imminent humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan has had close ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the group as it fought the US-backed government in Kabul for 20 years – allegations denied by Islamabad.

It is also regarded, along with Qatar, as one of the two countries with the most influence on the Taliban, and a place where many senior Taliban leaders fled after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengrell and Humayra Pamuk; Editing by Grant McCool)

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