August 5, 2021

During his meeting with Ashraf Ghani, Joe Biden pledges American “support” for Afghanistan

At a time when the current withdrawal of American troops opens a period of immense uncertainty, US President Joe Biden promised his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani on Friday June 25 the “Support” the United States.

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“Our troops are leaving but this is not the end of our support for Afghanistan”, declared the democratic president who announced in April the withdrawal of the 2,500 American soldiers still present on the spot. “The Afghans will have to decide their future, what they want”, he added from the Oval desktop, insisting on the task “Extremely difficult” that awaits the Afghan leaders.

If Joe Biden has displayed a form of complicity with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the government’s chief negotiator in talks with the Taliban (he spoke of ” Old friends “), no press conference was scheduled after their meeting.

White House stated objective: to work closely with the government in Kabul to ensure that Afghanistan “Never again become a refuge for terrorist groups which represent a threat to American territory”.

From Paris, the head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken had recognized, a few hours earlier, that the offensives of the insurgents against the Afghan security forces were multiplying in a worrying manner. “But the status quo would not have helped, the status quo was not an option”, he hammered, defending the controversial decision of the president.

Optimist of the Afghan President

Joe Biden has set September 11 as the deadline for withdrawal, which is the 20the anniversary of the attacks that led Washington to overthrow the Taliban regime that housed the jihadists of Al-Qaeda. The withdrawal has so far been carried out with vigor, fueling speculation that it will be completed as early as July.

But many elected officials and experts fear that the insurgents will regain control of the country and impose a fundamentalist regime similar to the one they had set up between 1996 and 2001.

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During a meeting at the Pentagon with Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, the Afghan president brushed aside the hypothesis of a “Takeover by the Taliban in six months”, stressing that these scenarios were “All proved false”.

While he still hopes to convince the Taliban to accept a role in an interim government of national unity, the insurgents, encouraged by their military successes, seem reluctant to negotiate. “The Ministry of Defense is deeply invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan and the search for a negotiated agreement to end the war”, for his part declared the head of the Pentagon.

The fate of the Afghans who aided the Americans in question

The plight of some 18,000 Afghans who worked with US forces, who fear reprisals if the Taliban return to power in Kabul, is the subject of special attention in Washington.

“We will not abandon those who have helped us”, assured Joe Biden Thursday, without going into details.

These Afghans hope to obtain an immigration visa to the United States, but the procedures are cumbersome and long. The White House has assured that it plans to evacuate some of them before the full withdrawal of the troops so that they are safe during the period of consideration of their visa application.

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But many details remain to be settled: neither the number of people concerned nor their destination have at this stage been specified. The island of Guam, in the Pacific, is one of the hypotheses raised in recent weeks by elected officials and human rights organizations.

The World with AFP