US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly on Friday. They both discussed the way forward in Afghanistan and stressed the importance of the countries working together on the issue.
"A lot to focus on, starting with Afghanistan and the importance of our countries working together and going forward on Afghanistan," news agency PTI quoted Blinken as saying during his meeting with Qureshi in New York.
Blinken said that he acknowledged the work that Pakistan has done to facilitate the departure of American citizens who wish to leave Afghanistan as well as others.
According to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, the two leaders discussed the way forward in Afghanistan.
"Blinken reiterated the importance of coordinating our diplomatic engagement and facilitating the departure of those wishing to leave Afghanistan. The Secretary noted that the United States appreciates Pakistan’s support and assistance with both of these efforts," Price said.
"I thought a time would come where we'd be talking beyond Afghanistan, but it seems Afghanistan is there, we can't wish it away, and we have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability," Qureshi told reporters.
On August 15, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan by seizing Kabul. They now control almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1.
The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul.
Meanwhile, when he was asked about the recent telephonic conversation earlier this week between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, Blinken said that both France and the US have respective relationships with India.
“I’m not going to get into any specific hypotheticals about the future, but let me simply say that both France and the United States have very strong interests in strengthening even more our respective relationships with India. This is something that we strongly support.”
Blinken was responding to a question on would the US welcome a nuclear submarine alliance between India and France as the Quad Leaders’ Summit gets underway.