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US reaches out to Russia, China on Afghanistan crisis

The outreach also comes amid concerns that either or both Moscow and Beijing might stymie an international consensus on isolating the Taliban should conditions worsen.

Published: 17th August 2021 12:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2021 12:29 AM   |  A+A-

A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan

A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration is reaching out to top rivals Russia and China as the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate amid a scramble to evacuate Americans, other foreigners and at-risk Afghans from the Kabul airport.

The outreach also comes amid concerns that either or both Moscow and Beijing might stymie an international consensus on isolating the Taliban should conditions worsen.

The State Department says Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Monday to his Chinese and Russian counterparts about "developments in Afghanistan, including the security situation."

Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a day after the US evacuated its embassy in Kabul and relocated remaining diplomats to the airport.

China has in recent weeks expressed an interest in working with the Taliban while Russia has its own history in Afghanistan.

Earlier Monday, China said its embassy in Kabul remains open and is willing to assist with Afghan reconstruction.

The foreign ministry would not say if Beijing would recognize the Taliban as the new government but said China would respect the choice of the Afghan people.

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Russia's foreign ministry said Lavrov and Blinken "discussed the situation in Afghanistan after the flight of the country's leader, disintegration of the existing government bodies and a de-facto ongoing regime change."

It said Lavrov had shared 'Russian assessments of the situation' and Moscow's contacts with 'representatives of all main political forces in Afghanistan in the interest of ensuring stability and order."

The two agreed 'to continue consultations' that would involve China, Pakistan, other 'interested nations' and the UN to try to press for an intra-Afghan dialogue.



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