US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a phone call on Tuesday agreed on the need to speed up Afghan peace talks and condemned ongoing attacks by the Taliban, the US State Department said.
In a statement outlining the discussion, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken reiterated the "strong and enduring US commitment to Afghanistan".
Blinken also took to Twitter to share details of his telephonic conversation with the Afghan president.
He said he reiterated the strong and enduring US commitment to Afghanistan. “We discussed the need to accelerate peace negotiations toward an inclusive political settlement that respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls,” he added.
Spoke with @ashrafghani today to reiterate the strong and enduring U.S. commitment to Afghanistan. We discussed the need to accelerate peace negotiations toward an inclusive political settlement that respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 3, 2021
The political settlement, according to the State Department’s statement, must also allow the Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders, and prevents Afghan soil from being used to threaten the United States and its allies and partners.
Both leaders, it said, condemned the ongoing Taliban attacks, which show little regard for human life and human rights, and deplored the loss of innocent Afghan lives and displacement of the civilian population.
Secretary Blinken and President Ghani pledged to remain in close contact going forward, it added.
The phone talk took place a day after Ghani told an extraordinary joint session of the parliament a new security plan backed by the US and international community would bring the Taliban to their knees in six months.
The Afghan president directed the country’s Interior and Defence Ministries as well as secret service NDS (National Directorate of Security) to expedite efforts to strengthen and streamline public uprising forces against the advancing Taliban.
Ghani also issued a stern warning to the Taliban to either engage in a meaningful dialogue for peace or face ultimate defeat on the battlefield.
The Taliban however were quick to reject remarks of the Afghan president.
In a statement, the group said: "Ashraf Ghani's statements were all 'nonsense', he was trying to control his bad situation and mistakes. The nation has decided to prosecute national traitors and bring them to justice. Declarations of war, accusations and misrepresentation cannot prolong life. His (Ghani's) time is over."
Last week the group expressed its apprehensions regarding President Ghani's previous remarks on bringing peace and order in the coming six months.
(With input from Reuters)
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