Sobriety was the order of the day, Friday, June 25, on the occasion of the visit to Washington of an Afghan delegation led by President Ashraf Ghani. Two days earlier, Joe Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki had declined to comment on an article in the Wall Street Journal according to which American intelligence services estimate that the Afghan government could collapse within six months after the departure of the American troops deployed there for nearly twenty years. At the White House, no press conference closed the meeting between the two presidents, Ashraf Ghani being accompanied in particular by his rival Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
A little more than two months before the deadline for this withdrawal, set for September 11, and while the pressure of the Taliban insurgents does not weaken, Joe Biden has nevertheless tried to be optimistic by receiving his counterpart in the office Oval. “The partnership between Afghanistan and the United States is not over. It will last. You know that our troops can leave, but that our support for Afghanistan does not stop with regard to military aid as well as economic and political aid ”, he assured. “The Afghans will have to decide their future, what they want”, he added before estimating that “This senseless violence must stop”.
The jihadist risk
Washington is banking on this partnership to prevent the country from once again becoming a sanctuary for jihadist organizations determined to target the United States. Afghan officials are playing on this threat so as not to have completely gone through profit and loss. “If Afghanistan is completely abandoned, without support, without commitment, there is a risk that it will once again become a refuge for terrorist groups”, thus assured Abdullah Abdullah to the American agency Associated Press.
Alongside Joe Biden, Ashraf Ghani also tried to be proactive in reporting military progress on the ground. “We are entering a new chapter in our relationship where the partnership of the United States will not be military but global as regards our mutual interest and we are very encouraged and satisfied that this partnership exists”, he assured.
The Biden administration is camped on this decision to withdraw, contested in particular by Republicans in Congress. While noting that the Taliban’s military embrace was growing stronger, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Friday that “The status quo would not have helped, the status quo was not an option”, on the sidelines of a visit to Paris.
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