Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in India for wide-ranging talks on everything from the coronavirus, which has hit India very hard, to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has created an opportunity for New Delhi to flex its regional muscles.
At a press conference after the discussions, Blinken acknowledged the emerging catastrophe in Afghanistan and warned the Taliban of a strong international response if the reports of atrocities turn out to be true. He said the international community will make a “pariah state” of an Afghan government that “does not respect the rights of its people, an Afghanistan that commits atrocities against its own people.”
“The Taliban says that it seeks international recognition, that it wants international support for Afghanistan,” and that it wants sanctions and travel bans on its leaders lifted, he added, saying there’s “only one path” to achieving those aims, “and that’s at the negotiating table.”
But it doesn’t seem that the Taliban — which now control nearly half of the country’s districts since launching their offensive in May, according to the Pentagon — agrees.
The Taliban has denied responsibility for the executions, the slaughter of surrendering Afghan soldiers, and the beheadings of Afghanistan government officials.
Meanwhile, the Taliban is getting very chummy with the Chinese lately. China is interested in the Taliban helping China get rid of some troublesome Muslims — the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called an “international terrorist organization.” The Chinese government has regularly accused the ETIM of planning and carrying out terrorist attacks in Xinjiang — accusations it has used to justify Beijing’s crackdown on the Uighurs.
Blinken believes that China’s influence in Afghanistan could actually be “positive.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan could be “a positive thing”.
He said this was if China was looking towards a “peaceful resolution of the conflict” and a “truly representative and inclusive” government.
His comments came after Taliban representatives visited China.
China said it saw the Taliban playing an important role in the peace process and rebuilding of Afghanistan.
“No one has an interest in a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, the restoration of an Islamic emirate,” said Mr Blinken, who was asked about the talks while on a visit to India.
He urged the Taliban to come to the “negotiating table… peacefully”.
Why in the world would the Taliban come to the negotiating table peacefully when they’re getting everything they want — including recognition by China — by continuing their military offensive?
A new report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction raises the question of what planet Secretary Blinken and his boss, Joe Biden, are from.
Attacks have been increasing since the U.S.-Taliban agreement on Feb. 29, 2020, with more attacks in each three-month period since the agreement than in the same quarters in the previous year.
The number of attacks against the Afghan military and civilians has increased significantly this year, the report says, with many attacks coming during the Taliban offensive now sweeping across the country.
To be brutally honest, what’s happening in Afghanistan is not solely the fault of Joe Biden. The groundwork for this disaster was being laid over the last 20 years by leaders in both parties. Biden’s decision to cut and run, leaving the Afghan government in the lurch, may not have been very honorable but it was probably unavoidable.
China should not get too comfortable with a fanatical Muslim government just across its border. And India will now have to deal with an emboldened Pakistan, which shares in the glory of the Taliban victory, having supported the terrorists over the last 20 years.
The real losers will be the people of Afghanistan who will have to endure the nightmare of medievalism all over again.