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A State Department employee adjusts the US flag in anticipation of a photo opportunity with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, Wednesday, March 22, 2107, in the Treaty Room at the State Department in Washington. The photo op was cancelled at the last minute. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

U.S. officials reject travel to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL – Following a warning by US congressman Michael McCaul against travels to Afghanistan as it could legitimize Taliban’s de facto rule, the Department of State has stated that no U.S. officials have any intentions of traveling to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

U.S. State Department’s spokesperson Vedant Patel in a press briefing said that there are no department officials planning to travel to Afghanistan. Patel also mentioned that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had recently reaffirmed a productive partnership with Pakistan during a conversation with his counterpart.

In his statement, McCaul, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, emphasized the importance of refraining from US government officials meeting with the Taliban and legitimizing their de facto rule over Afghanistan, given the ongoing contested situation in the country.

McCaul pointed out the Taliban’s concerning behavior despite previous engagements with the US, including actions such as taking Americans hostage, obstructing humanitarian assistance efforts, appointing al-Qaeda officials to government positions, and imposing oppressive rules on women and girls, including restrictions on education beyond the sixth grade.

Rather than normalizing the Taliban’s regime, McCaul called on the US to lead the international community in demanding reforms. He expressed his strong opposition to US officials traveling to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Since the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, no US government official has visited the country. Instead, US officials have been holding weekly meetings with Taliban representatives in Qatar to facilitate the ongoing evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies.

Addressing the issue of US-Taliban relations, Patel reiterated the US’s stance towards the Taliban’s actions in Afghanistan. The US has consistently condemned the evident regression in human rights, the mistreatment of women and girls, and other abuses by the Taliban. Patel emphasized that if the Taliban desires international recognition, they must demonstrate positive actions and policies within Afghanistan. The US remains vigilant and prepared to take appropriate action as necessary.

Recently, the Taliban’s imposition of restrictions on women resulted in the closure of thousands of beauty salons after a one-month deadline set by the group.

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