No recognition if Taliban take Kabul by force, warns US

Published June 24, 2021
State Department spokesperson Ned Price also indicated that US financial assistance to Afghanistan could only continue if the country has a government that’s recognised by all. — Reuters/File
State Department spokesperson Ned Price also indicated that US financial assistance to Afghanistan could only continue if the country has a government that’s recognised by all. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: The United States has cautioned the Taliban that the world will not accept a government imposed by force in Afghanistan as an intelligence report warned that the current setup in Kabul could collapse within six months after the American withdrawal.

At a Tuesday afternoon news briefing in Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price also indicated that US financial assistance to Afghanistan could only continue if the country has a government that’s recognised by all.

“The world will not accept the imposition by force of a government in Afghanistan,” said Mr Price while referring to media reports about Taliban victories against the Kabul government. “You’ve heard this from Ambassador (Zalmay) Khalilzad; you’ve heard this from Secretary (Antony) Blinken and from others.”

Earlier at the briefing, a journalist reminded Mr Price that the militants have expanded their control over Afghanistan to more than 50 districts since President Joe Biden announced his plan to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by Sept 11.

“Legitimacy and assistance for any Afghan government can only be possible if that government has respect for human rights, if that government has credibility, if that government has legitimacy, including in the eyes of its own people,” Mr Price said.

According to the World Bank, Afghanistan’s structural trade deficit, equal to around 30 percent of GDP, is financed almost entirely from grant inflows. Grants continue to finance around 75 percent of public spending. Security expenditures too were high at around 28 percent of GDP in 2019.

The United States is the biggest aid donor, spending $35.5 billion last year, followed by Germany ($28.4bn), Britain ($18.6bn), Japan ($16.3bn) and France ($14.1bn).

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US intelligence community had informed the Biden administration that the government of Afghanistan “could collapse as soon as six months after the American military withdrawal” from the country.

“American intelligence agencies revised their previously more optimistic estimates as the Taliban swept through northern Afghanistan last week, seizing dozens of districts and surrounding major cities,” WSJ reported.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2021

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