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Blinken discusses Afghan situation with Jaishankar 2nd time this week

The two leaders spoke on Thursday and agreed to continue coordination in Afghanistan. Blinken and Jaishankar last spoke on Monday, a day after the Taliban took control of Kabul.

IANS | New York |

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed the situation in Afghanistan with India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for a second time this week, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Price said that when the two leaders spoke on Thursday, they agreed to continue coordination in Afghanistan. Blinken and Jaishankar last spoke on Monday, a day after the Taliban took control of Kabul.

The US, which is facing heat for its handling of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, is focusing its efforts on evacuating US citizens from the war-torn country before the Taliban cements its control for good. India is closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan and their myriad implications for the geopolitical status quo in the region.

Jaishankar was in New York for two days of UN Security Council programs on protecting peacekeepers and fighting terrorism and was leaving the city on Thursday.

He told reporters at the UN that rescuing the Indians trapped in Afghanistan was the Indian government’s priority and the US controls Kabul airport, the main gateway out of the country.

“The immediate issue that we are looking at is really the repatriation of our nationals, in the case of India. India’s nationals, other countries have their concern. We are working with international partners in this regard, especially, principally the US because they control the airport,” he added.

After his call on Monday, Jaishankar tweeted that while discussing the latest developments in Afghanistan he “underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul. Deeply appreciate the American efforts underway in this regard”.

Blinken got in touch with several Foreign Ministers on Thursday to discuss the Afghanistan situation, according to Price.

He had a videoconference with the Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries — the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada — and Joseph Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

“All leaders underscored the imperative of safe passage for those who wish to leave Afghanistan and the need for an inclusive political resolution that protects the fundamental human rights of all Afghans,” Price said.

They also discussed counter-terrorism, humanitarian efforts, and refugee migration, he added,