The Latest on Afghanistan:
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan says U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the country’s foreign minister to discuss the path forward in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s swift takeover.
The ministry’s statement Tuesday quotes Shah Mahmood Qureshi as telling Blinken by phone that an “inclusive political settlement was the best way forward” for resolving the current political impasse.
Qureshi said Pakistan would remain closely engaged with the U.S. and other international partners in promoting efforts in support of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The latest development comes hours after Pakistan’s political and military leadership called for a political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war. A defiant U.S. President Joe Biden has stood by his decision to end America’s longest war.
The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the insurgents from power, but they never left.
After they blitzed across the country in recent days, the Western-backed government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed. Afghans, fearing for the future, are racing to the airport, one of the last routes out of the country.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government will not be able to evacuate as many Afghans from Kabul as he wanted.
Australia is sending three transport and air-to-air refueling jets with 250 military personnel to repatriate more than 130 Australians and their families from Afghanistan.
Australia also wants to evacuate hundreds of Afghans who had worked for Australian troops and diplomats in roles such as interpreters.
Morrison said he is optimistic that Australia’s evacuation operation would succeed despite the Taliban controlling Kabul.
“I want you to know that we will continue to do everything we can for those who have stood with us,” Morrison said in a message to 39,000 Australian military personnel who served in Afghanistan.
He added that “support won’t reach all that it should.”
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said “several hundred” Afghans who had worked for Australia remained in Afghanistan. Australia has resettled 430 since April.
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