President Biden vowed Friday that the US and Afghanistan would have a “sustained” partnership after American combat forces leave the nation — however warned Kabul’s high two leaders that “Afghans are going to have to decide their future.”
Biden made the statements throughout a gathering on the White House with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chair of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
“The partnership between Afghanistan and the United States is not ending,” Biden insisted.
He later added: “Our troops may be leaving, but support for Afghanistan is not ending, in terms of … helping maintain their military, as well as economic and political support.”
The visit to Washington got here at a vital second for Ghani and Abdullah. Peace talks with the Taliban have stalled, whereas battlefield gains by the Islamic fundamentalists have raised fears that the US-backed authorities might collapse inside months with out American army assist.
Ghani mentioned he revered Biden’s determination to withdraw US forces and claimed that Afghan forces had retaken six districts from the Taliban earlier Friday.
“It’s showing our determination,” mentioned Ghani, who has a grasp’s diploma and a Ph.D. from Columbia.
The Afghan chief additionally mentioned his nation is “in [an] 1861 moment, like President Lincoln, rallying to the defense of the republic, determined that the republic is defended. It’s a choice of values — the values of an exclusionary system or an inclusionary system.”
“We are determined to have unity, coherence, national sense of sacrifice, and will not spare anything,” added Ghani, who instructed reporters after the assembly that it was as much as his authorities to “manage consequences” of the US pullout.
Roughly 650 US troops are anticipated to stay in Afghanistan to supply safety for diplomats after the primary American army drive completes its withdrawal, which is ready to be largely completed within the subsequent two weeks, US officers instructed The Associated Press. Several hundred extra American forces will stay on the Kabul airport to help Turkish troops offering safety till a more formal Turkey-led safety operation is in place.
Biden beforehand mentioned he needed all US forces out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the twentieth anniversary of the devastating terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that precipitated the US-led invasion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken instructed reporters in Paris on Friday that whereas US troops would have “significantly” helped Ghani’s authorities, “what is almost certain is that our military would have come to us and said, well, the situation has changed, we need more forces. And we would have repeated the cycle that we’ve been in for 20 years. And at some point, you have to say this has to stop.”
Before Biden welcomed Ghani and Abdullah to the White House, the Afghan leaders met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the Pentagon.
Ghani additionally met Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as effectively as House Republican lawmakers, someday after sitting down with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Following their assembly, McConnell claimed Biden had “chosen to abandon the fight and invite even greater terrorist threats.”
On Friday, Ghani confronted questions from House Republican management about how his authorities would use the $3 billion in safety help it’s searching for from the United States.
“We want to support them. We want them to be able to defend their country from the Taliban. But I’ll tell you it’s a fairly grim assessment,” mentioned Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The question is: Can they push back the Taliban?”
With Post wires