US posture towards next Afghan gov’t to depend on Taliban’s actions

by Sami Burgaz

‘We will be watching very closely as any new government takes shape,’ says State Department spokesman Ned Price.

WASHINGTON (AA) – The US posture towards whichever government fills the power vacuum left by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan will depend on the hardline group’s actions, the State Department said Monday.

“We will be watching very closely as any new government takes shape. Of course, we have all seen various statements that have emanated from the Taliban, not only in recent hours, in recent days, but in recent weeks and recent months. We take those for what they are: they are statements,” spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“We will be watching actions. That’s what will be important to us,” he added.

The State Department referenced a UN Security Council statement that was issued earlier on Monday in which members urged the negotiated establishment of a government that “is united, inclusive and representative – including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.”

Price pointed to the importance of the statement’s emphasis on women’s inclusion, saying the US will not work with a government that disregards “the basic fundamental rights of half of its population — its women and girls.”

The Taliban have rapidly taken Afghanistan in a lightning offensive that blindsided Western powers as government forces melted away. The capital Kabul fell to the group on Sunday after the Afghan government collapsed amid the Taliban’s dizzying advances, which prompted former President Ashraf Ghani to leave the country.

Following his departure, former President Hamid Karzai, veteran politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and top peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah have been working to ensure a smooth transfer of power.


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