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S Jaishankar, Anthony Blinken Discuss Afghanistan Coordination On Call

The deadline for airlift operations from Kabul airport is August 31

New Delhi:

The US and India will continue to work closely on Afghanistan and the United Nations, the US State Department said in a statement after a meeting between Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.

“Secretary of State Antony J Blinken spoke today with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. They discussed a broad range of shared priorities, including continued coordination on Afghanistan and in the United Nations. Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar agreed to remain closely coordinated on shared goals and priorities to deepen the US-India partnership,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

The deadline for the airlift operations from Kabul airport is August 31. India on Friday said that the exact number of its citizens remaining in war-torn Afghanistan was unknown. The Ministry of External Affairs believes it has evacuated most who wanted to return while some are still around.

Several nations including the UK and Spain have ended evacuation flights from Kabul airport, a day after a suicide bombing targeted throngs of Afghans gathered outside the airport in hopes of fleeing the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

US officials have said more attacks on the evacuation effort are “likely.”

India has already evacuated its mission staff from Kabul. Last week, the Taliban entered at least two of India’s consulates in Afghanistan, searched for documents and took away parked cars, government sources had said, expressing worry that it meant the group is acting against the assurances its leaders have been giving to the world.

India operated four consulates in the country, besides the embassy in Kabul. Apart from Kandahar and Herat, India also had a consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, which was shut down days before the Taliban took control.

On September 1, Kabul airport will be under the control of the Taliban, who already on Friday claimed to have moved into certain areas of the military side of the facility.

“We are departing by August 31. Upon that date, we are delivering – we’re essentially giving the airport back to the Afghan people,” Ned Price said on Friday, cutting off speculation about the possibility of it falling into international hands, news agency AFP reported.

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