The United States on Monday said that India had played a constructive role in Afghanistan by providing assistance in training and improving infrastructure in the region.

“Clearly, that kind of work, that kind of effort to help Afghanistan, you know, maintain stability and good governance, is always welcome,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said at a press briefing.

Kirby said the US was deeply concerned about the present security situation in Afghanistan. Kirby was referring to the escalation of the violence by the Taliban after US President Joe Biden’s announcement in April about the withdrawal of troops from the country.

The Taliban has taken control of several cities in Afghanistan. On Sunday, it captured Kunduz, Sar-e-Pol and Taloqan – all provincial capitals in the northern region.

Despite the Taliban making advances in Afghanistan, the US indicated that it has no plans to increase airstrikes in country, AP reported.

“When we look back, it’s going to come down to leadership and what leadership was demonstrated, or not [by Afghans],” Kirby said. “It’s their country to defend now. It’s their struggle.”

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The Pentagon spokesperson also said the US wanted Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries not to take actions that could worsen the security situation there. He urged them to “continue to try to use international pressure to get a negotiated peaceful political settlement to this war”.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa discussed the situation in Afghanistan over a phone call. They spoke in detail about regional security, stability and bilateral defence ties, the Pentagon said.

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also discussed the situation in Afghanistan with India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his visit to New Delhi.

At a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in July, India had presented a three-point roadmap for peace in Afghanistan.

Jaishankar had said that the plan was to “cease violence and terrorist attacks against civilians and state representatives, settle conflict through political dialogue and respect interests of all ethnic groups and ensure that neighbours are not threatened by terrorism, separatism and extremism”.