Bide reiterates support for Ghani, but insists on giving Afghans more autonomy

15 minutes. US President Joe Biden promised his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani on Friday that his country’s alliance with Afghanistan will continue after the withdrawal of US troops, but considered that the time has come for the Afghan people decide your future.

“The Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want,” Biden said in a statement to the press at the beginning of a meeting with Ghani in the White House Oval Office.

The encounter takes place when large rural areas of Afghanistan have fallen into the hands of the Taliban coinciding with the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, who hope to complete their withdrawal before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Alliance will continue after withdrawal

Despite the withdrawal, Biden promised that the alliance between Afghanistan and the US “will not end” and “will continue.”

“Our troops may leave, but our support for Afghanistan will not end in terms of helping to maintain its armed forces, as well as our economic and political support,” he said.

In recent weeks, Biden has wanted to make clear his commitment to Afghanistan with two important gestures: a petition to Congress to approve an aid package of 3.3 billion dollars in security assistance and the shipment to the Asian country of 3 million doses. of the covid-19 vaccine.

Ghani, however, came to the meeting with the intention of enlisting Washington’s support in dealing with the Taliban offensive.

Since the start of the US troop withdrawal in the past month and a half, nearly 60 districts of the 370 that make up Afghanistan have been captured by the Taliban.

Taliban regain control

This is the first time in the last two decades of war that the Taliban have taken control of so many districts in such a short time.

In this regard, Biden considered that “the senseless violence has to stop”, but acknowledged that “it will be very difficult” and avoided making any commitment that could jeopardize the withdrawal of the 2,500 US soldiers and 7,000 from NATO.

For his part, during the part of the meeting that was open to the press, Ghani expressed his respect for the US president’s decision, which he considered “historic.”

In addition, Ghani asked that the Afghan government be avoided for “dead” prematurely and was optimistic about the outcome of its fight with the Taliban.

“Let us understand that in moments of great transition, things happen, but they will see how – with determination, with unity and with this alliance – we will overcome everything,” predicted the Afghan leader.

Turn to look for props

The Afghan president went to the Oval Office accompanied by the president of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, whom Biden called “old friends”, since they all knew each other before today’s meeting.

Ghani last visited the White House in 2014 during the Barack Obama administration (2009-2017), in which Biden served as vice president.

In addition to the meeting at the White House, the Afghan president met this Friday with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, as well as with the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin.

During that meeting with Austin, Ghani smiled when a journalist asked him about a report from US intelligence agencies that estimates that his government will collapse within six months after international forces leave the country.

“There have been many such predictions and they have all been proven to be false,” Ghani replied.

Meetings with all sectors

The Afghan president also met with Washington’s highest-ranking Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell on Thursday.

The senator is a fierce critic of Afghanistan’s “neglect”.

After the meeting, in a statement, McConnell warned that the withdrawal of troops will mean a setback in the rights of Afghans.

The war in Afghanistan, the longest in the US, began in October 2001 with the mission to hunt down Osama Bin Laden.

The war has claimed the lives of between 35,000 and 40,000 Afghan civilians and some 2,300 American soldiers, according to Brown University.

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