The United States has made it clear to Pakistan that it does not want Islamabad to recognize the Taliban government unless it does not give women the rights they deserve and allows Afghans who want to leave the country to do so.
In the first public hearing in Congress about Afghanistan since last month’s collapse of the US-backed Afghan government, US Secretary of State Blinken told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours.
“It is one that involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harboring members of the Taliban … It is one that’s also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken said.
When lawmakers asked Washington if it was time to reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Brinken said the government would do so soon.
“This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead – the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” he said.
The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan culminated with a hastily organised airlift that left thousands of US-allied Afghans behind and was punctuated by a suicide bombing outside Kabul’s airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans.
The US and Western countries are in a difficult balancing act in the aftermath of the Taliban’s victory – reluctant to recognise the group while accepting the reality that they will have to engage with them to prevent a looming humanitarian crisis.
Pakistan has deep ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the organization because it has fought the US-backed government in Kabul for 20 years-Islamabad denies this allegation.