US President Joe Biden would meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief peacemaker Dr Abdullah Abdullah at the White House on Friday for the first face-to-face interaction ahead of the withdrawal of the remaining US and NATO forces from the war-torn country by September 11.
The visit by President Ghani and Dr Abdullah will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown from Afghanistan continues, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
The high-level meeting will take place as the Taliban insurgents have in recent weeks captured dozens of new districts in Afghanistan and both sides are said to have suffered heavy casualties. The escalation in fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban militants have dealt fresh blows to the US-brokered peace negotiations between Kabul and the insurgents.
“The US continues to fully support the ongoing peace process and encourages all Afghan parties to participate meaningfully in negotiations to bring an end to the conflict,” Psaki said. In April, President Biden had announced that the US will withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, in an effort to end a deadly conflict that has cost trillions of dollars and the lives of more than 2,300 American troops. Biden has made it clear that a continued military strategy was no longer sustainable in Afghanistan.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result,” he said in a major policy speech on April 14.