NEW DELHI: Afghanistan would become a "pariah state" if the Taliban take control of the country by force and fail to respect the rights of its people, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.
"An Afghanistan that does not respect the rights of its people, an Afghanistan that commits atrocities against its own people would become a pariah state," Blinken told reporters in India.
He said reports of "atrocities" committed by the Taliban in recent weeks as the insurgents make advances across the country were "deeply, deeply troubling" and "certainly do not speak well to the Taliban's intentions for the country as a whole."
He added that the United States "remain very much engaged in Afghanistan, in support of the government through the various forms of assistance we're providing, including to the security forces, as well as the diplomacy that we're engaged in to try to bring the parties together in a meaningful way to resolve the conflict, peacefully."
He added: "The Taliban says that it seeks international recognition, that it wants international support for Afghanistan. Presumably it wants its leaders to be able to travel freely in the world, sanctions lifted, etc."
"The taking over of the country by force and abusing the rights of its people is not the path to achieve those objectives," he said.
"There's only one path. And that's at the negotiating table to resolve the conflicts peacefully, and to have an Afghanistan emerge that is governed in a genuinely inclusive way, and that is representative of all its people."