Terrorist safe havens

US looking at India to secure staging post for Afghanistan strikes, if needed: Antony Blinken

Says ties with Pak to be reassessed

US looking at India to secure staging post for Afghanistan strikes, if needed: Antony Blinken

A protest against Taliban’s order to vacate an army residential colony in Kandahar. Asvaka News Agency/Reuters

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 14

The US is in touch with India on using it as a staging post for aerial strikes in Afghanistan, while it will reassess its relationship with Pakistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the pullout from Afghanistan.

Binken’s comments came days before PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden on September 24 at the Quad summit, possibly followed by a bilateral interaction.

Editorial: UN in Afghanistan

“I’m talking northwest India as a potential because Qatar and Doha are just a little bit too far,” said Blinken, when asked at the hearing by Congressman Mark Green whether the US had reached out to India as a possible staging area for aerial strikes on any terrorist haven that might crop up in Afghanistan.

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Blinken refused to elaborate, observing that, “Let me just say generally we’re deeply engaged with India across the board with regard to any specifics about over-the-horizon capabilities and the plans that we put in place.”

The Pentagon’s last over-the-horizon strike had killed nine civilians instead of a suicide bomber it had thought was heading for the Kabul airport.

Though the world committed over $1 billion instead of the $606 million sought by the UN to feed over one crore Afghans, most world leaders, including Blinken, are not convinced the Taliban will fairly distribute the aid.

While Pakistan envoy to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan met Afghan acting Foreign Minister Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul on Tuesday, Blinken called on Pakistan to deny legitimacy to the Taliban unless they meet international demands.

Muttaqi has assured of full transparency.

India calls for united approach towards Afghanistan crisis

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has hoped the global community would take united approach towards Afghanistan.
  • The approach has been articulated by UNSC resolution on safe departure of Afghans and foreigners from Kabul and need to uphold human rights.
  • India’s investments have earned it tremendous goodwill and our friendship with Afghans will continue to guide our approach, he said.

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