US President Joe Biden on Friday met Afghanistan’s leaders- President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah at the White House. The meeting is crucial as it comes amid the Taliban’s ongoing campaign to violently capture the country and turn it into an Islamic emirate. While the American military is in the process of withdrawing from the country, Biden assured the Afghan delegation of all support to Afghanistan even after the withdrawal.
Making it quite clear that the US would not intervene militarily to counter the Taliban’s onslaught, Biden said, “Afghans are going to have to decide their future.” While the survival of the current Ghani-led Afghan government remains questionable, the Afghan President tried to project strength. He termed Biden’s decision to continue support for Afghanistan as ‘historic’ and rebuked an intelligence report which predicted the fall of his government to the Taliban within six months. “There have been many such predictions, and they have all turned out false,” Ghani said. He added that the two countries are entering a new phase of relations which would be comprehensive and not military.
Joe Biden said in his remarks that despite the withdrawal process, the Americans would continue their economic and political support and would also help to maintain the Afghan military.
President Ghani was accompanied for the visit by Abdullah Abdullah who is the chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation. Apart from President Biden, the two Afghan leaders also met NSA Jake Sullivan, CIA director William Burns, defence secretary Lloyd Austin and some other lawmakers.
It may be recalled that the Trump administration had signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020 in which the American troops were to withdraw from Afghanistan by 1 May 2021. After coming to power, President Biden upheld his predecessor’s decision to withdraw and announced that the American’s would leave by 11 September this year. The date coincides with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack which prompted the Americans to invade Afghanistan.