US President Calls For Afghanistan To Decide Its Future

muzzamil mehboobWeb Editor

26th Jun, 2021. 12:32 pm
US President Calls For Afghanistan To Decide Its Future

US President Joe Biden held a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his former political foe, Abdullah Abdullah, on Friday at the White House. He called on the Afghans to decide on their future as the last US troops are set to leave Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

Biden said that US support for Afghanistan will not end but would be halted in the process of US troops pullout.

“Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want,” said Biden, saying the “senseless violence has to stop.”

Ghani said that Afghanistan had successfully taken back six districts. He said that he respected Biden’s decision and both the countries are entering into a new phase of the partnership.

“We are determined to have unity, coherence,” he said.

While speaking to reporters, Ghani stated that the US decision to remove troops was a sovereign one and that it was up to Kabul to “handle the consequences.”

He added that Biden clearly said that the US embassy would continue to operate and security aid would continue.

In an interview following the Biden meeting, Abdullah stated that stalled intra-Afghan discussions on a political settlement to decades of conflict should not be abandoned unless the militants themselves withdraw.

“I think we shouldn’t shut the door unless it’s completely shut by the Taliban,” Abdullah said. “We can’t say no to talks despite a lack of progress or in spite of what’s happening on the ground.”

The meeting in the Oval Office could be as important to Ghani as any additional US assistance since it would be perceived as reaffirming Biden’s support for the beleaguered Afghan leader as he battles Taliban gains, bombings, and assassinations, an increase in COVID-19 cases, and political infighting in Kabul.

“At a time when morale is incredibly shaky and things are going downhill, anything one can do to help shore up morale and shore up the government is worth doing,” said Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Kabul. “Inviting Ghani here is a pretty strong sign that we’re backing him.”

Biden has asked the government to approve a $3.3 billion security fund for Afghanistan next year.

The US is also sending 3 million vaccine doses to help Afghanistan battle COVID-19.

Biden will not prevent the American pullout from Afghanistan, sources say. He is unlikely to provide any military support to halt the Taliban’s advances, they added. The US withdrawal is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, according to sources.

Earlier, the Afghan leaders met for a second day on Capitol Hill, where many members of both parties objected to Biden’s decision to withdraw.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said she was looking forward to hearing more about what more can be done with US humanitarian help, particularly for women and girls, as she welcomed Ghani to a bipartisan leadership meeting.

Many parliamentarians and academics are concerned that if the Taliban retake power, they will undo advances made on women and girls’ rights, which were restricted and forbidden from education and work during the insurgents’ control from 1996 to 2001.

Al Qaida

The Ghani-Abdullah visit resulted in a peace process and violence raging as Afghan security forces are fighting to stop a Taliban spring offensive that is threatening several provincial capitals and has prompted ethnic militias to join the fight.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking during a visit on Friday to Paris, said Washington is “looking very hard” at whether the Taliban are “serious about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The situation has created a concern about the rise of the Taliban to power, after two decades of US invasion halted their actions.

The situation is described as dire by US government sources familiar with US intelligence reporting. According to them, Ghani has been asked to do more to increase pressure on rebels while US-led coalition forces remain on the ground.

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