A U.S. envoy is warning the Taliban that any government that assumes power through use of force in Afghanistan will not be acknowledged by the international community.
Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, where the Taliban has a political office, to “help formulate a joint international response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan,” according to the State Department.
He will urge the Taliban to stop their military offensive and arrange a political settlement, which the State Department said “is the only path to stability and development in Afghanistan.”
The Associated Press reported that Khalizad will inform the group that they would be considered global pariahs if they pursue victory on the battlefield and engage in a military takeover of Kabul.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — FDA advisers back first at-home COVID-19 pill Overnight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Menendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation MORE made similar remarks last month, telling reporters that an Afghanistan that “does not respect the rights of its people” and “commits atrocities against its own people” would become a “pariah state.”
Khalizad, who negotiated the peace deal brokered with the Taliban under the Trump administration, and other officials reportedly hope that the stern warning will encourage Taliban leaders to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government as U.S. and NATO forces inch closer to completing their military withdrawal from the country.
The Taliban’s advances in Afghanistan have accelerated since President BidenJoe BidenCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin seeks 'adjustments' to spending plan MORE announced in April that the U.S. would pull all troops from the region by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to America’s longest war. That target date has since been moved up to Aug. 31.
The Taliban seized the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, marking the third provincial capital the insurgent group has taken since beginning its offensive. It has gained control of five out of 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan in less than a week, according to the AP.
The State Department said the efforts by the Taliban, some of which have resulted in civilian casualties and allegations of war crimes, are “of grave concern.”
“The increased tempo of Taliban military engagement, resulting civilian causalities in armed conflict between the sides, and alleged human rights atrocities are of grave concern,” the State Department wrote.
The department said “negotiated peace” is the “only path to ending the war,” and emphasized that the U.S. would continue to work with all parties to “advance a consensus on a political statement.”
The Taliban military chief reportedly dispatched an audio message to his fighters on Tuesday telling them not to hurt Afghan forces and government officials in regions they capture, according to the AP. It was not immediately clear if the orders, however, would be followed.