WASHINGTON: The United States wants Afghanistan’s neighbours not to recognise any Afghan government that’s imposed by force.

The demand — made at a Tuesday afternoon’s news briefing at the US State Department — preceded a meeting of the Troika Plus nations in Doha on Wednesday. The group includes the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan to find a political solution to the decades-old war in Afghanistan.

US State Department’s spokesperson Ned Price told the briefing that at the Doha talks, the participants would press for a reduction in the violence, a ceasefire and a “commitment by the part of these regional and broader governments and multilateral and international institutions not to recognise any government that is imposed by force”.

“Any government that comes to power in Afghanistan at the barrel of a gun will lack international support and international legitimacy,” Mr Price said.

He insisted that “a litany of countries, of international blocs and institutions that have signed on to this simple proposition that any government that comes to force in Afghanistan will lack legitimacy”.

Such a government, he added, “will not have that international assistance that any government would almost certainly need to achieve any degree of durability”.

The meetings in Doha, followed rapid Taliban victories across Afghanistan. They have captured seven out of 34 provincial capitals in the country in less than a week.

Mr Price said US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was sent to Doha to “advance a collective international response to what can only be termed a rapidly deteriorating security situation”.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

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