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Blinken says US has ‘significant leverage’ to ensure Taliban make good on commitments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves a closed-door briefing with members of the House regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the evacuation effort on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
Greg Nash

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the Biden administration has “significant leverage” to ensure that the Taliban make good on their commitments to allow people to exit Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 U.S. troop withdrawal deadline.

“One hundred fourteen countries have made very clear that it is their expectation that the Taliban will permit freedom of travel going past August 31st,” Blinken said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“So, that is a clear expectation across the entire world, across the entire international community. Third, we have very significant leverage to work with over the weeks and months ahead to incentivize the Taliban to make good on its commitments,” he added, without providing specifics.

Blinken also noted that a senior Taliban official had said during a television interview that Afghans would be allowed to leave the country past the Aug. 31 deadline.

“Now you’re telling me we should trust what the Taliban said?” co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked.

“I’m not saying that Martha. I’m not saying we should trust the Taliban on anything. I’m simply reporting what one of their senior leaders said to the Afghan people,” Blinken said.

Blinken also explained that the international community is looking to the Taliban to make good on its promises, though some have viewed the possibility that the insurgent group will ensure that its civilians will be able to leave the country with skepticism.

Tags Afghanistan Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Martha Raddatz Sunday shows Taliban

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