Biden to deliver major policy speech on Afghanistan: WH

Washington, Jul 8: US President Joe Biden will deliver a major policy speech on Afghanistan on Thursday and an update on the drawdown of troops after a meeting with his national security team on the conflict-ridden country, the White House has said.

“Tomorrow morning, President Biden will meet with his national security team to receive a periodic update on the progress of our military drawdown from Afghanistan,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

“Early tomorrow afternoon, the President will make comments on our continued drawdown efforts and ongoing security and humanitarian assistance to the ANDSF (Afghan National Defence and Security Forces) and the Afghan people,” Psaki said.

Biden told reporters at the White House that he would talk about the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan on Thursday.

One of the reasons that the President made the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is because he does not feel there’s a military solution for a 20-year war, Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“He has long felt there was not a military solution. Diplomatic negotiations,” she said.

“Two, as he reiterated when Afghan leaders were here just a couple of weeks ago, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance, security assistance. We intend to continue to have a diplomatic presence on the ground in Kabul, even after we bring the servicemen and women home at the end of August. So, that is a mechanism for that,” she said.

The United States will continue to work with partners in the region to plan for its own counter terrorism preparations.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the US is aware that Iran hosted talks with the Taliban.

“We are of course aware that Iran has hosted a meeting between the Taliban and the Islamic Republic. Negotiating teams, this is what we’ve always said, that Afghanistan’s neighbours and countries in the region, they too have a stake in Afghanistan’s future. They need to use their influence in ways that are positive, in ways that are constructive, in ways that promote the cause of peace, in ways that support the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

“We know that regional consensus and support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process, it’s important for an enduring peace. When it comes to the recent violence, this is something obviously we have spoken to quite a bit. And the point remains that no government that might come to power in Afghanistan through the use of force at the barrel of a gun will have legitimacy or the support–and that can be especially critical–from the international community,” Price said.

“Nor would a government that comes to power by force have the support of the people of Afghanistan. And what we ultimately hope to help support and will seek to help support is a just, endurable settlement. Every part has an interest in a settlement being durable. The Afghan people have been burdened and in many cases brutalised by 40 years of civil war,” he said in response to a question.

“The United States is supporting the efforts ongoing in Doha right now between the parties where the parties are in fact still meeting, still talking, to see to it that we can have a just, endurable settlement and a comprehensive cease fire to finally see an end to this violence,” Price said.

The US military exit from Afghanistan before September 11 stems from the February 2020 agreement Washington signed with the Taliban in return for counterterrorism guarantees and pledges the group would negotiate a political settlement to the war with the Afghan government.

In April, President Biden announced that the US will withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, in an effort to end a deadly conflict that has cost trillions of dollars and the lives of more than 2,300 American troops. (PTI)