“If the Taliban doesn’t want to be a pariah, it’s going to have to engage in a political process,” the US Secretary of State said.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an interview with ABC news said that the civil war in Afghanistan is in “no one’s interest.”
“Ultimately, it is in no one’s interest in Afghanistan, whether it’s the Taliban or anyone else and certainly not the people of Afghanistan, for the country to descend once again into civil war, into a long war,” Blinken said.
“If the Taliban is going to participate in some fashion in governance, if it wants to be internationally recognized, if it doesn’t want to be a pariah, it’s going to have to engage in a political process,” he said.
He stated: “Our goal ultimately is an Afghanistan that finds a just and durable settlement to this conflict that has been going on for four decades. And in that situation and that environment, terrorism is less likely to emerge.”
ABC asked: “Right now, in some of the Taliban-held areas, you have young women, you have girls, who are beaten; there’s no chance for an education. Why is that acceptable?”
Blinken replied: “It’s not acceptable. And when I was in Kabul, I met with some extraordinary women who are leading as a mayor, a member of parliament, a youth activist, and doing other things. And what they’ve done with our support is quite remarkable. And I think Afghanistan in many ways is a transformed society.”
He further said: “But again, here is the thing: No one, starting with the Taliban, has an interest in going back to a civil war, because I think what everyone recognizes is there’s no military resolution to the conflict. So if they start something up again, they’re going to be in a long war. That’s not in their interest either.”
“Second, we’re going to be continuing to support the Afghan security forces. We’ve trained more than 300,000 over the years, and it’s a strong force. It’s going to continue to have international support, including ours. We’re going to be engaged in the peace process to see if we can move this in a better direction.”
“And the final thing is this, and I want to repeat it: If the Taliban has any expectation of getting any international acceptance, of not being treated as a pariah, it’s going to have to respect the rights of women and girls. Any country that moves backwards on that, that tries to repress them, will not have that international recognition, will not have that international status, and indeed, we will take action to make sure to the best of our ability that they can’t do that,” he added.
Afghan politicians hope that the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban will achieve a political agreement on peace ahead of the announced date for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, predicting that an alternative scenario will not be in the country’s favor.
Former mujahideen leader Mohammad Ismail Khan said that the remaining five months for the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan should be used as an opportunity for peace in the country, not for fueling war.
He warned that Afghanistan will be plunged into another civil war if both sides refrain from entering meaningful talks.
Other political figures, including presidential adviser Mohammad Mohaqiq and Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, have also warned of a civil war after the US forces withdrawal if the situation is not managed well.
“A complete civil war can be expected after the withdrawal of foreign forces,” Mohaqiq said.
“The war will be more complicated than the past and more intensive–more bloody than the past,” Massoud said.