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Blinken admits a civil war or Taliban takeover is a possibility

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(Last Updated On: April 28, 2021)

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Tuesday Afghanistan could be taken over by Taliban or descend into civil war when the US withdraws troops by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Blinken told CNN a civil war or Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is “certainly a possible scenario” when the US withdraws all its troops from the country.

The Biden administration is “planning for every scenario” but stated the US is “not disengaging from Afghanistan” and will continue to be “deeply engaged” in supporting the country long after troops have left.

But the decision has divided opinion with some officials and lawmakers voicing concerns that pulling troops out of Afghanistan too quickly could lead to retaliation from the Taliban.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who is on the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN “it’s difficult to see a scenario that doesn’t end in civil war or a Taliban takeover.”

Blinken addressed these concerns Tuesday, admitting that unrest is a possible consequence. “That is certainly a possible scenario,” he said.

He urged what he described as “free riders” in the region to start using their “influence” to help keep the country stable.

“I don’t think ultimately either the Afghan government or the Taliban do, none of Afghanistan’s neighbors do, neighbors and other countries in the region that have basically been free riders for the last 20 years, as we’ve been engaged there with our NATO allies and partners who are now going to have to decide, given their interests in a relatively stable Afghanistan, given the influence that they have, whether they’re going to try to use that influence in a way that keeps things within the 40-yard line,” he said.

Blinken denied that the withdrawal of troops was the US “disengaging” from the country, saying the nation continues to be committed to “its people, development, economic assistance, humanitarian assistance, support for the security forces.”

“So a lot of people are having their minds concentrated by the president’s decision and besides that – even as we are withdrawing our forces, we are not disengaging from Afghanistan,” he said adding the US remains “deeply engaged in the diplomacy, in support for the Afghan government and its people.”

“We have trained over the years more than 300,000 of them so all to that remains and there are different actors are work now who I hope will keep moving this in a more positive than negative direction.”

He added: “But we have to plan, we are planning for every scenario.”

Blinken also insisted that the Biden administration is working to ensure Afghan locals who “put their lives on the line” working with US forces and diplomats in the country over the last two decades can apply to be expedited to the US.

Thousands of people worked alongside the US on the ground in the country and have been left fearful for their lives once the US withdraws.

“We have had this program in Iraq and also in Afghanistan and we want to make sure that people who put their lives on the line, working with American folks in uniform, working with our diplomats who put, not just themselves in jeopardy, potentially their families as well, can get expedited consideration if they decide that they want to try to come to the United States,” he said.

“We have got about 18,000 people already in the pipeline, 9,000 of whom are relatively far along, another 9,000 are just at the beginning of the process, and you know, clearly more are likely to sign up, so we are working very hard to make sure that we’ve got in place the resources to work that program – to work it quickly, expeditiously.”

Blinken called on the lawmakers in the House and the Senate to “work together and make sure that the program has the resources it needs.”

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Tuesday he hoped many Afghans will want to stay to “contribute to the nation’s future” but said it was crucial the US protects those who feel they need to leave the nation.

“Failing to do so sends a global message – Don’t fight with the Americans, because when they’re finished they leave you behind. That’s not something we can tolerate,” he said.

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US understands importance of Chabahar Port for Afghanistan: India

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The United States understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide the country economic alternatives, India’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

 India recently signed a 10-year agreement to develop and operate Iran’s strategic Chabahar Port as New Delhi aims to boost trade ties with landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, bypassing ports in its western neighbour and arch foe Pakistan.

But the deal has prompted a thinly veiled threat of sanctions from the United States, with whom India has developed close economic and military ties in recent decades.

India’s foreign ministry spokesman, Randhir Jaiswal, noted that since 2018, India has supplied 85,000 metric tons of wheat, 200 metric tons of pulses and 40,000 litres of pesticide Malathion to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port.

“The United States also has an understanding…understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide Afghanistan economic alternatives,” he said in a press conference.

“Our External Affairs Minister also spoke on this matter in several forums recently, where he said that we should not take a narrow view of this particular project, it has an important role to play as far as the region is concerned, connectivity is concerned, particularly for the landlocked countries in the area,” he added.

He also said that Russia‘s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, met with an Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, J.P. Singh, who looks after Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, in the Ministry of External Affairs, essentially exchange of views on the ground and the situation and how the two countries look at the situation.

He said that they emphasized on the need to provide development assistance and humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan.

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Nicaragua president sends letter of condolence to IEA leader after floods

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The Afghan Embassy in China announced Saturday that the President of Nicaragua has sent a letter of condolence to the leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, following the recent deadly floods in Afghanistan.

Based on the embassy’s statement, the letter was handed over by Michael Campbell, the Nicaraguan ambassador to China, to Bilal Karimi, the Afghan ambassador to China.

In the letter, Nicaragua president, Daniel Ortega, while expressing his sympathy over the floods, expressed his interest in establishing good relations with the Islamic Emirate and cooperation in various fields.

The Nicaraguan ambassador stated that the Nicaraguan people, like the Afghans, achieved independence after a hard struggle against the colonialists, which is a common point between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Bilal Karimi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, has said that he will convey the condolence letter of the President of Nicaragua to the leader of the Islamic Emirate. He also assured of maintaining good relations with the country.

Karimi emphasized that all Latin American countries are important, but Nicaragua’s taking the initiative is a positive and admirable move.

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UN Doha meeting should reflect realities of Afghanistan: Iranian envoy

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, said in a meeting with his Italian counterpart that the next UN-convened meeting on Afghanistan should reflect the realities of the country.

Qomi said that Tehran is ready to work with Europe on the development of a comprehensive cooperation plan for Afghanistan based on the consultations it has conducted.

He added that the topics of the third meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha should be based on the realities of the region and Afghanistan.

“The actions of countries outside the region have not been useful in solving the crisis and challenges of Afghanistan so far, and if this situation continues, Europe will also be plagued by the problems,” he said.

The last meeting of the United Nations on Afghanistan was held in Doha in February this year, but it failed to achieve its primary objectives.

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