Legitimacy of any future Afghan govt depends on Taliban’s approach to prevent nation from being ‘base for terrorism’: Biden
Washington: The G-7 countries are united on its stand on Taliban and they agreed that the legitimacy of any future government in Afghanistan depends on the armed group’s approach to prevent the war-torn nation from being used as a “base for terrorism”, US President Joe Biden has said.
Biden’s remarks on Tuesday came hours after a virtual meeting with the leaders of the G-7 bloc, the UN, NATO and the European Union. G-7 is an inter-governmental political forum of seven advanced nations comprising the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK.
“The G-7 leaders and the leaders of the EU, NATO and the UN, all agreed that we will stand united in our approach to the Taliban,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“We agreed that the legitimacy of any future government (in Afghanistan) depends on the approach it (Taliban) now takes to uphold international obligations, including to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terrorism,” he said.
Biden said the G-7 countries have agreed that none of them are going to take the Taliban’s word for it.
“We’ll judge them by their actions, and we’ll stay in close coordination on any steps that we take moving forward in response to the Taliban’s behaviour,” he said.
“At the same time, we renewed our humanitarian commitment to the Afghan people and supported a proposal by the Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations-led international response with unfettered humanitarian access in Afghanistan,” Biden said.
The G-7 countries also talked about their mutual obligation to support refugees and evacuees currently fleeing Afghanistan, he said, adding that the US will be a leader in these efforts.
“In short, we all, all of us, agreed today that we’re going to stand shoulder to shoulder with our closest partners to meet the current challenges we face in Afghanistan, just as we have for the past 20 years. We’re acting in consultation and cooperation with our closest friends and fellow democracies,” Biden said.
The meeting of G-7 leaders ended the conversation today by a clear statement that “we are going to stay united, locked at the hip in terms of what we have to do. We’ll get that done”, he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during the G7 meeting, Biden conveyed that US mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of their objectives.
“He confirmed we are currently on pace to finish by August 31 and provided an update on progress in evacuating Americans who want to come home, third-country nationals, and Afghans who were our allies during the war,” Psaki said.
“He also made clear that with each day of operations on the ground, we have added risk to our troops with increasing threats from ISIS-K, and that completion of the mission by August 31 depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport,” she said.
The President has asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plans to adjust the timeline should that become necessary, Psaki said.
Besides Biden, the G7 virtual meeting was attended by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The conference was also attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and two senior Indian-American officials — Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council; and Sumona Guha, Senior Director for South Asia.