KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani and High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdullah have met US President Joe Biden.
Soon after his arrival in Washington at the head of a high-level delegation, President Ghani met US lawmakers, other officials and President Joe Biden.
Biden emphasised America’s enduring support for the Afghan people, including women, girls and minorities, through civilian, development and humanitarian aid.
A statement from the White House said Biden also promised the continued provision of security assistance to support Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
Biden expressed his concern at the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan, and noted additional emergency US assistance, including three million doses of vaccines, to help the Afghan government respond to the pandemic.
Biden, Ghani and Abdullah concurred on the need for unity among Afghan leaders in support of peace and stability.
President Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to fully supporting intra-Afghan negotiations, which have made little progress do far.
The US and Afghan leaders agreed that although American troops were leaving Afghanistan, their strong bilateral partnership would continue.
“The partnership between Afghanistan and the United States is not ending. It’s going to be sustained,” Biden assured Ghani and Abdullah.
Ghani expressed his gratitude, saying he and Abdullah had traveled together to Washington in a show of unified respect and support for the US decision to withdraw combat troops.
The visiting president paid tribute to the 2,448 Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during their 20-year military mission in his country.
The three-way meeting in the Oval Office on Friday evening coincided with rising concern over territorial gains being made by the Taliban.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted Ghani and Abdullah at the Pentagon. He renewed continued support for the government in Kabul.
The Washington Times quoted Austin as saying: “Let me reaffirm America’s commitment to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, especially our strong defense relationship.”
At the White House, Ghani asserted Afghan forces had spent the past 24 hours rolling back recent Taliban gains.
“Just for your information, today, the Afghan forces have retaken six districts, both in the south and the north,” the president remarked.