Ned Price
Ned Price Reuters

The United States said on Monday that it would only recognize a Taliban government in Afghanistan if it respects the rights of women and shuns extremist movements such as Al-Qaeda.

"Ultimately when it comes to our posture towards any future government in Afghanistan, it will depend upon the actions of that government. It will depend upon the actions of the Taliban," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, according to the AFP news agency.

"A future Afghan government that upholds the basic rights of its people, that doesn't harbor terrorists and that protects the basic rights of its people including the basic fundamental rights of half of its population -- its women and girls -- that is a government that we would be able to work with," added Price.

He said that the US negotiator on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, remained in the Taliban's diplomatic base of Qatar where US officials have been in talks with the insurgents.

"I would say that some of those discussions have been constructive," Price said. "But again, when it comes to the Taliban, we are going to look for their actions rather than listen to their words.”

On Sunday, the Taliban insurgents entered Kabul, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to leave the country, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

The spokesman for the Taliban's political office later declared the war in Afghanistan as over and added that the type of rule and the form of regime in Afghanistan will be clear soon.

In his comments on Monday, Price continued to refer to "President Ghani" but declined to say if the United States still recognized him as Afghanistan's legitimate leader.

"There has not been a formal transfer of power," the spokesman said.

Price’s comments came hours after President Joe Biden issued a public statement on Afghanistan, in which he defended his decision to withdraw from the country.

“I stand squarely behind my decision” to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Biden clarified. He added that the US will “act quickly” against terrorism in Afghanistan “if needed”.

The President asserted that the US gave the Afghan military “every chance” against Taliban but “we couldn't give them the will to fight.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell later blasted Biden's handling of the situation in Afghanistan, saying the deteriorating situation was "an unmitigated disaster."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized Biden’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan as well.

“President Biden chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself,” wrote Graham.

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