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US waiting to see how new Afghan govt shapes up before any decision on recognition: Blinken

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the United States would like to see how the new Taliban government shapes up and what policies it pursues before recognising it.

The US media reported earlier on Friday that Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is likely to lead the new Afghan government.

Baradar, who is currently in charge of the Taliban’s political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob — the son of late Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar — and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai.

Asked to comment on these reports at a news briefing in Washington, Secretary Blinken said he had seen different reports, but those did not indicate “what it looks like, who is in it, who is not. So, I am going to reserve our judgment and comments on that.”

The chief US diplomat also explained what the Biden administration expects from Afghanistan’s new rulers. “There is an expectation that any government that emerges now will have some real inclusivity in it. It will have non-Talibs in it who are representatives of different communities and different interests in Afghanistan. So, we will see what in fact emerges,” he said.

But “as important as what the government looks like is, more important still is what any government does. And that’s what we are really looking at. We are looking at what actions, what policies any new Afghan government pursues,” he said.

The United States, he said, was hoping that the new Afghan government would make good on the commitments that the Taliban have made on “freedom of travel, on not allowing any terrorists to use the Afghan soil and on women and minorities.”

Secretary Blinken is expected to travel to Qatar and Germany this week, but his office did not see if he would meet Taliban officials in Qatar.

The Taliban maintain a political office in Doha, Qatar, where Taliban and US officials have held peace talks for more than two years and signed an agreement in February 2020. The agreement led to the departure of all foreign troops from Afghanistan and paved the way for the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

The Biden administration has set up its diplomatic mission for Afghanistan in Doha, after withdrawing the staff from Kabul. And Secretary Blinken said in his inaugural remarks at the briefing that the new US team in Qatar was “now up and running”.

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