Blinken says 'status quo was not option' in Afghanistan
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said the status quo was not an option for the US in Afghanistan, as it prepares to withdraw troops by September despite a rise in attacks.
"We are seeing elevated attacks on the Afghan security forces in certain parts of the country compared to a year ago," Blinken said on a visit to Paris.
He acknowledged the US had to look "very hard" to see if the Taliban was "at all" serious about bringing peace to the country.
"Actions that are trying to take the country by force are, of course, totally inconsistent with trying to find a peaceful resolution."
But he added: "Had we not begun the process of drawing down... the status quo would not have held... The status quo was not an option."
His comments come as Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani meets later Friday with President Joe Biden in the White House, with his government under increasing threat from an emboldened Taliban insurgency.
Biden has ordered the departure of all US forces from Afghanistan by this year's 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that triggered the invasion, saying he believes that no more can be achieved.