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Ghani, Blinken meet in Kabul

 A day after US President Joe Biden announced the unconditional withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September which will end the 20-year old war, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and visiting American Secretary of State Antony Blinken exchanged views on the decision and the war on terrorism.

During the meeting held in the Afghan Presidential Palace on Thursday, Ghani stressed the common struggle of all countries against terrorism, reports Xinhua news agency.

Ghani told Blinken that Afghanistan respects the US President’s decision, adding that the Kabul government will ensure a smooth transition.

The President said that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were capable enough to defend their country and ensure security.

On his part, the top US diplomat said: “The withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan will not mean the weakening of strategic relations between the two countries. The US will honour its commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan.”

Blinken said his visit to Afghanistan was important because he wanted to convey in person America’s commitment to an enduring partnership with the country and its people, TOLO News reported.

“We never intended to have a permanent military presence here. Threat from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is significantly degraded.

“By our enduing to support to Afghanistan economically, diplomatically, politically, I do want to say that as we proceed, we will remember the extraordinary courage, strength and sacrifices our troops who served in Afghanistan in the past two decades.

“An now we are embarking on a new chapter in our partnership with the Afghan people,” he added.

The Secretary of State also warned the Taliban against attacking the US forces as they are withdrawing from Afghanistan, saying any attack by the Taliban will be met with forceful response.

“We will continue to support Afghan national security forces, but importantly we are doing everything we can now to advance diplomacy to bring in regional and international partners,” he added.

Besides Ghani, Blinken also met Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

“We agreed that a negotiated political settlement remains the only way forward, and the US will continue to support it,” he said of his meeting with Abdullah.

Biden on Wednesday announced the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, who have stayed in the country for 20 years.

Biden said that it has been 10 years since former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s death, and it is time to end America’s war in the country and to bring US troops home.

“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said, adding that it will not be a “hasty rush to the exit”, and if the Taliban attacks, the US will defend itself and partners with “all the tools at our disposal”.

Hindi Website