US to engage with Taliban for safe evacuation after Aug 31


President Joe Biden has directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to engage with global partners to determine what the path forward in Afghanistan will look like, reports Asian Lite News

The US will be engaging with the Taliban to ensure the safe evacuation of people from Afghanistan following the August 31 deadline for withdrawal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.

“The President directed the Secretary of State to continue diplomatic efforts with international partners to secure means for third-country nationals and Afghans with visas to leave the country even after the US military presence ends,” Psaki said during a press briefing on Friday (local time).

“A part of that would certainly be having a coordinated approach and engagement with the Taliban,” she added.

Psaki said President Joe Biden has directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to engage with global partners to determine what the path forward in Afghanistan will look like, adding that the international community has leverage against the Taliban.

She also said that President Biden and the US military have all the authority to carry out attacks against the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K terror group without congressional approval.

“I can just assure you the President and the military feel they have all the authorities they need to attack ISIS-K,” Psaki told reporters.

IS-K claimed responsibility for attacks outside Kabul international airport that killed 13 US service members.

People queue up to board a military aircraft of Germany and leave Kabul at Kabul airport, Afghanistan. (XinhuaIANS)

Sputnik citing The Washington Post, said that the publication reported that the Taliban have asked the US to keep a diplomatic footprint in Afghanistan following the August 31 withdrawal. Psaki refused to confirm or deny the report.

Taliban, Haqqani Network two separate entities: US

Despite close links between the Taliban and the proscribed outfit Haqqani Network, the US State Department on Friday (local time) said that they are two separate entities.

During a press briefing, when US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was asked about sharing information regarding the security of Kabul airport with the Taliban and whether it was extended to Haqqani Network, Price replied, “The Taliban and Haqqani Network are two separate entities.”

Despite his denial, it is reported that the Taliban and the Haqqani Network share strong links. The US first designated the Haqqani Network as a terrorist group in 2012.

US Secretary if State Antony Blinken (Photo: twitter@SecBlinken)

The National Counterterrorism Center said the Haqqanis “is considered the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces” and said the Haqqani Network was considered a terrorist group “because of its involvement in the Afghan insurgency, attacks on US military and civilian personnel and Western interests in Afghanistan, and because of its ties to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.”

A Pakistani protege, Khalil Haqqani, who has a USD 5 million reward after the US designated him a terrorist 10 years ago is a regular visitor to Pakistan’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi, is one of the new rulers of Afghanistan, reported The New York Times.

Known to American intelligence as the Taliban emissary to Al Qaeda, Khalil Haqqani showed up in Kabul last week as their new chief of security, brazenly armed with an American-made M4 rifle, with a protection squad dressed in American combat gear.

The nexus between the Pakistanis and the victorious Haqqani was indisputable and indispensable to the Taliban victory, said Douglas London, a former CIA counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia.

(Image Source ANI)

The members of the Haqqani family had prominent positions inside the Taliban. In fact, the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and Al Qaeda are deeply intertwined in Afghanistan, with the Taliban integrating Haqqani Network leaders and fighters with Al Qaeda links into its command structure.

Moreover, the splinter group of Islamic State, (Islamic State – Khorasan) ISIS-K who had claimed Kabul airport blast, has long clashed with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, claiming Taliban rule is illegitimate.

The US has relied upon the Taliban to maintain security checkpoints around Kabul’s airport. Central Command leader General Frank McKenzie said Thursday the US would continue to ask the Taliban to assist with security, saying he hadn’t seen evidence the Taliban let the attack occur. (ANI)

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