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Afghan president Ghani to visit White House as US troops’ withdrawal nears

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In this file photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calls on US President-elect Joe Biden to “help fight terrorism”. Photo: AFP

WASHINGTON: Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani and the head of the country’s peace process will meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, as the planned American military withdrawal accelerates.

Biden has ordered the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan by this year’s 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that triggered the invasion. In moving to end America’s longest war, the president said he believes that no more can be achieved.

“The visit by President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday.

As the US military presses ahead to meet the September 11 deadline, the Taliban have fought daily battles with government forces and claim to have captured 40 districts.

The growing fear and uncertainty about the future have left many Afghans desperate to leave, including thousands of men and women who fear reprisals because they worked with foreign forces.

The Taliban said Sunday they remain committed to peace talks but insisted a “genuine Islamic system” in Afghanistan was the only way to end the war and ensure rights — including for women.

Talks between the militants and the Afghan government have been deadlocked for months and violence has surged across the country since May when the US military began its final withdrawal.

2021-06-21 14:28:00

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