US lawmakers push for harder line on Pakistan over its ‘duplicitous’ role in Afghanistan

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FILE PHOTO: Labourers unload boxes of pomegranates from Afghanistan, from a truck at the ‘Friendship Gate’ crossing point, in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Saeed Ali Achakzai/File Photo

Washington — The US lawmakers on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at a hearing where U.S.Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed post-Afghan withdrawal from Kabul,  pushed for a harder line on Pakistan given its “duplicitous’ role in the war-plagued country.

At least two Congressmen, both Democrats, Bill Keating and Joaquin Castro focused on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan terming it “duplicitous.”

They also mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public statements after the Taliban took over Kabul last month, reported The News International.

Keating asked Blinken: “How do we reassess that relationship how we, how we learn from their actions? And when we go forward. What do we do, what are some of the big issues that we should have stakes in the ground that we should have in dealing with Pakistan and the way they’ve acted over these decades?”

Testifying before Congress on the Taliban victory in Afghanistan Blinken heard from lawmakers across party lines and said that the United States will reassess its relationship with Pakistan given its role in Afghanistan over the last twenty years and beyond, reported The News International.

Blinken told the lawmakers that the United States will reassess its relationship with Pakistan given its role in Afghanistan over the last twenty years and beyond.

“This is one of the things we are going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead — the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” Blinken told lawmakers on Monday during a congressional hearing on post-Afghan withdrawal from Kabul.

Responding to questions, Blinken said Pakistan needs to line up with the international community to force the Taliban regime to uphold the basic rights of Afghan people, women, and minorities, reported The News International.

“What we have to look at is an insistence that every country, to include Pakistan, make good on the expectations that the international community has of what is required of a Taliban-led government if it’s to receive any legitimacy of any kind or any support,” he told the committee.

He said the priorities included ensuring the Taliban let out people who want to leave Afghanistan and respect the rights of women, girls and minorities, as well as adhere to promises that the countries not again become “a haven for outward-directed terror.”

Moreover, Blinken shifted the blame of Afghanistan’s chaos to the Trump administration and defended the Biden administration decision to pull out from the war-torn country.
Blinken echoed White House talking points blaming the Trump administration for the situation that President Joe Biden inherited in Afghanistan.

“We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan,” he said, maintaining that the administration had done the right thing in ending 20 years of war.

“We made the right decision in ending America’s longest-running war,” said Blinken.

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