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Home / World / Jaishankar and Blinken discuss Afghanistan situation for second time this week

Jaishankar and Blinken discuss Afghanistan situation for second time this week

According to a US state department readout, the two agreed to ‘continued coordination’
S. Jaishankar
S. Jaishankar
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Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 21.08.21, 01:02 AM

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar spoke with US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Thursday for the second time in two days as India continued with its wait-and-watch policy on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

The conversation, according to a US state department readout, was on Afghanistan and the two agreed to “continued coordination”.

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Jaishankar had last spoken to Blinken on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday when India was trying to airlift its diplomats, embassy staff and other nationals from Kabul airport which has been under US control since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

“Productive call with @DrSJaishankar today (Thursday) about Afghanistan. We agreed to continue our close coordination,” Blinken tweeted after the call. There was no word on the conversation from the Indian end but by all indications New Delhi like many of the other world capitals with a stake in Afghanistan is in contact with several other countries to size up the situation and decide on what stance to take vis-a-vis the new governance arrangement in Kabul with the Taliban in the lead.

Considering the huge investments India has made in Afghanistan over the past two decades using the conducive atmosphere created by the U.S.-led NATO presence to have projects in all 34 provinces, opinion seems divided on whether India should turn its back on the country the way it did between 1996 and 2001 when the Taliban controlled Kabul last. Jaishankar, himself, has said that India will continue its relationship with the Afghan people; indicating that an arrangement for people-to-people contacts is being considered even if India ends up deciding not to recognise a Taliban government.

While India is coordinating more deeply with the U.S. on Afghanistan, it is also discussing the issue with Moscow which continues to have its diplomatic presence in Kabul and had early on made it clear weeks ago that it will not intervene militarily to stop the Taliban advance. On Thursday, deputy NSA Pankaj Saran was in Moscow where again Afghanistan featured in his talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.



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