Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, lower than a day after President Biden formally introduced plans to withdraw all remaining troops from the nation by Sept. 11. The journey was meant to sign continued cooperation amid the most important shift in coverage.
The withdrawal, which comes practically 20 years after the United States first despatched troops to Afghanistan, has raised profound questions within the country about its impact on Afghan civilians and the power of the federal government and the Taliban to barter a peace deal.
Mr. Biden, laying out his plan in an address to the nation on Wednesday evening, stated the nation may now not “continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan.”
Following the president’s announcement, NATO’s international and protection ministers agreed to start withdrawing NATO forces on May 1 and end “within a few months,” the alliance stated in a press release.
Hours later, Mr. Blinken arrived in Kabul, the place he visited the United States Embassy after which met with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the Afghan authorities council that has led peace negotiations with the Taliban.
“I wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Blinken stated earlier than his assembly with Mr. Ghani started. “The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring.”
Mr. Ghani stated the Afghan authorities revered the choice and was “adjusting our priorities.”
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Ghani “discussed the importance of preserving the gains of the last 20 years, especially in building a strong civil society and protecting the rights of women and girls,” stated Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department.
The pair additionally spoke about counterterrorism cooperation and their shared dedication to making sure that Al Qaeda doesn’t regain a foothold in Afghanistan.
Mr. Blinken then met with Mr. Abdullah, who stated he was grateful to the American folks and the Biden administration.
“We have a new chapter, but it’s a new chapter that we’re writing together,” Mr. Abdullah added.