US President Joe Biden (R) and his   Afghanistan counterpart Ashraf Ghani
US President Joe Biden (R) and his Afghanistan counterpart Ashraf Ghani

Lalit K Jha

Washington

President Joe Biden has told his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani the people of Afghanistan “are going to have to decide their future” but assured him the US is going to “stick with you” even after the American troops leave the war-torn nation by September.

Biden, who had his first face-to-face meeting with Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday said America’s partnership with the South Asian nation is going to be sustained. “The partnership between Afghani­stan and the United States is not ending. It’s going to be sustained,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House in a joint media appearance with President Ghani and the CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

American troops may be leaving, but support for Afghanistan is not ending in terms of helping maintain their military as well as economic and political support, Biden said.

Ghani, sitting alongside Biden, said Afghanistan was grateful for the blood and treasure America had spilled during the past two decades to defend his country, which now finds itself facing direct battle against the Taliban militants.

The visiting Afghan leaders also held meetings with top officials of the Biden administration including Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director Willi­am Burns and the top Congressional leadership.

As the US prepares its Afghan exit, Biden said the two visiting leaders have got very difficult jobs.

“They are doing important work, trying to bring about unity among Afghan leaders -- across the board. Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want. But it won't be for lack of us being helped... The senseless violence, it has to stop, but it's going to be very difficult,” Biden said.

Afghans are going to have to decide their future of what they — what they wa­nt. What they want. But it won’t be for lack of us being a help. But we’re

going to stick with you. And we’re going to do our best to see to it you have the tools you need," said Biden.

Ghani said the US is entering a new chapter of bilateral relations with Afghani­stan where the partnership would not only be military, but comprehensive regarding their mutual interest.

"The Afghan nation is at an 1861 moment, like President (Abraham) Lincoln rallying to the defence of the Republic, determined that the Republic is defended. It’s a choice of values. The values of an exclusionary system or an inclusionary system. We’re determined to have unity, coherence, national sense of sacrifice, and will not spare anything," said Ghani.

“We are very encouraged and satisfied that this partnership is taking place. Thank you for ordering the priorities,” he said.

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