President Joe Biden is set to host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday (Pictures: AP/Reuters)
President Joe Biden will host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday, as the US withdraws its remaining troops in Afghanistan. Biden is set to welcome Ghani as well as Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, the White House announced on Sunday.
Biden’s meeting with Ghani and Abdullah ‘will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues’, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
‘The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people by providing diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance to support the Afghan people, including Afghan women, girls and minorities,’ Psaki stated.
‘The United States will remain deeply engaged with the Government of Afghanistan to ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for terrorist groups who pose a threat to the US homeland.’
Psaki concluded that the US continues to encourage all parties in Afghanistan to take part in negotiations to end conflict in the region and establish peace.
The meeting with Ghani comes as the Biden administration approaches its promised September 11 deadline to withdraw all remaining American troops in Afghanistan, in line with the 20th anniversary of the most deadly terrorist attack on US soil.
As the US withdraws its troops, however, concerns linger that the Taliban could take over parts of the country.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday testified before a Senate Appropriations Committee that there is ‘medium’ risk of extremist groups taking over Afghanistan within two years of American troops departing.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said ‘there are no great options’ in dealing with Afghanistan and criticized Biden’s decision to withdraw completely.
‘President Biden, unfortunately, has chosen the highest risk option available, which is to leave no matter what,’ Graham said.
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