Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the chaotic situation in Afghanistan for a second time this week. The two agreed to continue their close coordination over the matter and keep a close watch on the situation.
Taliban insurgents took control of Afghanistan Sunday. Their sudden victory, which comes as the US withdraws from the country following a 20-year brutal war, has sparked chaos at Kabul’s airport, from where America and allied nations are trying to safely evacuate thousands of their citizens and allies.
Blinken spoke with Jaishankar over the phone Thursday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar discussed Afghanistan and agreed to continued coordination,” Price said in a readout of the call.
“Productive call with @DrSJaishankar today (Thursday) about Afghanistan. We agreed to continue our close coordination,” Blinken tweeted after the meeting.
Blinken and Jaishankar last spoke on Monday and discussed the situation in the conflict-torn country. During their call, Jaishankar ‘underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul’. The main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of the Kabul airport, he said.
Jaishankar said Thursday that India is working with international partners, principally the US, in bringing stranded Indian nationals back home from Afghanistan.
Jaishankar said this while addressing reporters at the UN Security Council stake-out after chairing the Security Council briefing on the ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’, held under India’s current Presidency of the Council.
In response to a question, Jaishankar said on the issue of ‘where we go on from now’ with the Taliban in control in Afghanistan, he said: “The immediate issue that we are looking at is really the repatriation of our nationals. In India’s case, India’s nationals, other countries have their concerns. We are working with international partners in this regard, principally the US, because they control the (Kabul) airport,” Jaishankar said.
The Government of India is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals and will institute flight arrangements once Kabul airport is open for commercial operations, the Ministry of External Affairs had earlier said Tuesday in New Delhi.