Afghan President Ghani to meet with Biden as violence escalates | Asia News

US President Joe Biden will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah at the White House on Friday to discuss the withdrawal of US troops amid increased fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban across the country.

In their first face-to-face meeting, Biden will seek to reassure Ghani and Abdullah of American support for the Afghan people, including diplomatic, economic and humanitarian aid, the White House said in a statement on Sunday. Biden will also reiterate his commitment to ensure that the country never becomes a safe haven for armed groups.

“The visit of President Ghani and Dr Abdullah will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military withdrawal continues,” the White House said.

In this September 11, 2011 file photo, American soldiers sit under a newly raised American flag to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, in Afghanistan. [File: David Goldman/AP Photo]

Since Biden’s decision in April to withdraw all US troops before 9/11 to end America’s longest war after nearly 20 years of conflict, the Taliban have waged daily battles with government forces and claim have captured 40 districts.

The group staged a campaign to expand its influence across the country as the United States began withdrawing its troops on May 1, closing some bases and turning them over to the Afghan government.

The Taliban said the visit would be “unnecessary”.

“They (Ghani and Abdullah) will discuss with US officials how to preserve their power and personal interests,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “This will not benefit Afghanistan.

There was no immediate reaction from Ghani’s office, but a senior Afghan official said the Afghan president would seek assurances from the United States of his continued support for Afghan security forces following the withdrawal.

The visit would also come amid the slow pace of talks between the Taliban and Afghan government officials in Qatar.

Officials have raised concerns about the stalling of negotiations and said the Taliban has yet to submit a written peace proposal that could be used as a starting point for substantive talks.

Biden administration says adding staff to speed up visa process for Afghans [File: Drew Angerer/Getty Images via AFP]

In May, US intelligence analysts released an assessment that the Taliban would “roll back much” of progress made on Afghan women’s rights if the group regained national power.

The Taliban said on Sunday they would remain committed to the peace talks, but insisted that a “true Islamic system” in Afghanistan was the only way to end the war and secure rights, including for the women.

“A true Islamic system is the best way to solve all the problems of the Afghans,” said co-founder and deputy head of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

United States to speed up visas

Afghans who worked for the United States during the two-decade deployment of US-led NATO troops fear armed groups will target them and their families in retaliation for aiding foreign forces .

The Biden administration says it is adding staff to speed up the visa process for Afghans. Refugee advocates and some members of Congress, however, say the effort falls short of their expectations.

Afghan security officers inspect the site of a bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Separate bombs hit two minibuses on Saturday in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in the Afghan capital, killing several people and injuring others, the Interior Ministry said. [File: Rahmat Gul/AP Photo]

Speaking in an interview with ABC News on Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the issue was “a top priority” for Biden and the administration was pushing people out “at an all time high,” although he gave no precise figure.

“And we’re doing the kind of extensive planning for a possible evacuation if that becomes necessary. We will take all of these steps to make sure that we are doing well for the people who have done well for us, ”he said.

When asked if the increase in violence in the country was forcing the administration to delay the US departure from Bagram Air Base, the largest US military base in Afghanistan, Sullivan said he there had been no changes in plans so far, but added:

“What we do is check every week as the withdrawal takes place whether or not this matches our efforts to ensure that there is a sufficient security presence at the Embassy, ​​that the airport will be secure. “

In this December 2020 file photo, U.S. soldiers return home after 9-month deployment to Afghanistan [File: John Moore/Getty Images via AFP]

Last week, the United States welcomed Turkey’s commitment to securing Kabul airport, addressing a key area of ​​concern.

Turkey, as a predominantly Muslim nation but also a member of NATO, the transatlantic alliance, has played a key role in Afghanistan since 2001, including sending troops in non-combatant roles and, more recently, hosting Taliban and government officials for talks on the country’s future.

Kabul Airport, developed after 2001 with the support of the United States and Japan, is seen as crucial to the future of Afghanistan by providing an economic lifeline.

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