New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken on August 14 held a telephonic conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed the urgency of ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the violence in the region.
In a tweet, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken emphasised the United States’ commitment to a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Afghan government.
“Secretary of State Antony J Blinken spoke today with President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani about developments in Afghanistan. They discussed the urgency of ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the violence,” he said in a tweet.
“The Secretary emphasized the United States’ commitment to a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan and our continuing support for the people of Afghanistan,” he added.
The talks come hours after the Taliban wrested control of the fourth largest city of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif.
With the seizure of Mazar-i-Sharif, the terrorists appeared to be on the verge of a complete takeover of the country.
This is the second phone call between Blinken and Ashraf Ghani in the last two days.
Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday talked to Afghan President Ghani and discussed the current security situation in the country and the US plans to reduce America’s civilian footprint in Kabul.
The Taliban blitz began in May, but the terrorists have managed to seize more than half of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals in just over a week.
The terrorists now effectively control the southern, western and northern regions of the country — just about encircling the country’s capital, Kabul, as they press on in their rapid military offensive.
The Taliban seized Mazar-i-Sharif, the last northern holdout city, barely an hour after breaking through the front lines at the city’s edge.
The loss of the north — once the heart of resistance to the insurgents’ rise to power in 1996 — to the Taliban offered a devastating blow to morale for a country gripped with panic.
By Saturday night, 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals were in the hands of the Taliban, including Mazar-i-Sharif, the government’s economic engine in the north.
The Taliban seized Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, on Friday morning, just hours after capturing Herat, a cultural hub in the west, and Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city.
They have toppled city after city with stunning velocity this week, leaving just two major urban centres, including Kabul, the capital, in the government’s hands.