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US not recognising Taliban govt ‘at this moment’: US Deputy Secretary of State – Pakistan

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday that the United States was not recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan “at this moment,” but admitted that Washington was in talks with many countries including China and Russia, to seek a common approach on the issue.

“The United States is not at this point recognising a government in Afghanistan. As Secretary Blinken said, legitimacy has to be earned,” said Sherman during her media interaction in Islamabad. “Over a period of time and set of actions, we need to see and understand how the Taliban is going to move forward.

“The US has made it clear and most of the international community agrees that we are looking for an inclusive government [in Afghanistan].”

We will not judge the Taliban on their words, but on their actions. And so far, their actions have fallen far short of those public commitments: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman

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Sherman stressed that Afghanistan should not become a safe haven for terrorism.
“Fundamental human rights, including women and children, should be protected besides ensuring safe travel for Afghan people,” she emphasised.

The deputy secretary of state, who arrived in Pakistan on Thursday night on a two-day visit, said the US was looking for a common approach to ensure a better future for the Afghan people.

Talking about the Taliban’s commitments made with the international community, she said the group has made many commitments, including a promise to allow freedom of movement, an inclusive government, allowing unhindered access for humanitarian aid, and prevent Afghanistan from once again harboring terrorists trying to harm the United States and its allies.

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“We will not judge the Taliban on their words, but on their actions. And so far, their actions have fallen far short of those public commitments,” she stressed.

Sherman, who earlier met Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf, said during her interactions she discussed the importance of holding the Taliban accountable to their commitments.

Talking about her interaction with NSA Moeed Yusuf, she said our conversation was “forthright and direct”.

She said the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan has ended, but Washington’s commitment to the Afghan people has not. “We are extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” she said.

Sherman told media that around a million Afghan children were at risk of starvation and above 18 million Afghans needed immediate humanitarian assistance.

She said, in September, US announced $64 million in new humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan.

Sherman also appreciated Pakistan for increasing its humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in recent weeks, including providing millions of dollars in food assistance.

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She acknowledged Pakistan’s role by saying that the country has a “long history of generosity toward refugees, and has hosted Afghan refugees for more than four decades”.

She told reporters that other issues of mutual interest were also discussed with the Pakistani leadership, as both countries have a long history of security cooperation.

In her remarks, she mentioned that the US had donated nearly 16 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Pakistan, and announced another 9.6 million doses, which will be delivered through COVAX Programme in the near future.

“The United States is providing these vaccines free of charge, with no strings attached—because we know that no one is safe from Covid-19 until everyone is safe,” she stated.

She also said that a strong, prosperous, democratic Pakistan was vitally important for the region—and for the wider world.

“We have had many years of productive partnership with Pakistan toward that goal, and we look forward to many more to come,” she added.

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