Biden, Afghan President to Meet at White House Amid U.S. Pullout

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President Joe Biden will meet at the White House on Friday as the U.S. moves ahead with its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Biden said in April that all U.S. troops will leave by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that brought the U.S. into its longest war. While the administration says the pullout is justified as a strategic shift, a United Nations report this month raised the prospect of a takeover by Taliban militants.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, said Sunday there are no plans to change Biden’s “basic proposition.” U.S. troops will be out “well before the deadline,” Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, also will take part in the meeting, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people by providing diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance to support the Afghan people, including Afghan women, girls and minorities,” Psaki said. “The United States will remain deeply engaged with the Government of Afghanistan to ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for terrorist groups who pose a threat to the U.S. homeland.”

Biden has taken some criticism for the move from Republicans in Washington. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the withdrawal “a grave mistake” and Jim Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it “reckless” and “dangerous.”

The New York Times reported that the Taliban entered the provincial capitals of Kunduz and Maimana on Sunday, part of an insurgent operation in recent weeks that has affected dozens of rural regions and led to the capture of surrender of hundreds of government forces and their equipment.

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