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Friday, Oct 22, 2021

US Secretary Of State Calls China, Russia On Afghan Collapse

US Secretary Of State Calls China, Russia On Afghan Collapse

The State Department said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the security situation and efforts to evacuate people to safety.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday discussed the collapse of Afghanistan's Western-backed government with China and Russia, frequent US adversaries that have moved quickly to work with the Taliban.

The State Department said Blinken spoke separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the security situation and efforts to evacuate people to safety.

The State Department provided few other details. Russia said Blinken and Lavrov discussed Moscow's outreach to various Afghan political forces that is aimed at "helping ensure stability and public order."

The two "agreed to continue consultations with the participation of China, Pakistan and other interested nations to establish the right conditions to begin an inclusive inter-Afghan dialogue under the new conditions," a Russian foreign ministry statement said.

Both Russia and China stepped up contacts with the Taliban after the United States decided to withdraw from Afghanistan, ending a 20-year military involvement and setting off the swift crumbling of the government.

Moscow, which in Soviet times spent a decade in a costly occupation of Afghanistan during which it battled Islamic guerrillas then backed by Washington, has kept its embassy open in Kabul and plans discussions with the Taliban.

Russia has said it sees the Taliban "restoring order," while China said Monday it wanted "friendly and cooperative" relations" with Afghanistan under the Taliban.

China, which according to human rights groups has incarcerated more than one million mostly Muslim people from the Uyghur and other minorities in a campaign Washington considers genocide, is eager to stop Islamic radicalism on its soil and is allied with Pakistan, the Taliban's historic backer.

US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad regularly consulted Russia and China during his unsuccessful diplomacy to encourage a peaceful power-sharing agreement as the United States withdrew.
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