Biden to meet with Afghan president at White House after Karzai slams 'failed' war effort
Just days after a longtime ally slammed the two-decades-old American military operation in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden will welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to the White House on Friday.
Ghani will be joined by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. The council, which met for the first time last December, is trying to rally the Afghan government and the Taliban around an almost impossible peace deal before American forces leave the country, ending the United States's longest war.
"The visit by President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday.
Biden is committed to providing diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance, even after he pulls all remaining U.S. troops and equipment out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, according to Psaki.
"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," she said. "The United States continues to fully support the ongoing peace process and encourages all Afghan parties to participate meaningfully in negotiations to bring an end to the conflict."
But Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, ripped Biden and Washington's NATO partners over the weekend, contending that their joint effort in Afghanistan has been a "total disgrace and disaster."
"The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear objective of fighting extremism and bringing stability," he said in an interview. "But extremism is at the highest point today. So they have failed."
Yet while the Taliban regain ground in Afghanistan, Ghani insisted his country would "be better off without their military presence."
“I think we should defend our own country and look after our own lives," he said. "We don’t want to continue with this misery and indignity that we are facing."
Ghani's 13 years in leadership resulted in economic and social progress in Afghanistan, particularly for women, but they were also marred by corruption allegations.
The U.S. withdrawal is ahead of schedule, on track to conclude by the summer, according to the Pentagon. The risk of a power vacuum is concerning former Department of Defense and State Department officials, as well as existing contractors and advocates pushing for visas for Afghan allies.