U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday arrived in Kabul in an unannounced visit to show support for the Afghan government a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said that he was pulling out U.S. forces after two decades of war.
Biden earlier announced his government’s decision, saying that U.S. objectives in Afghanistan had become “increasingly unclear” over the past decade and as such, would be removing its remaining 2,500 soldiers from the war that was triggered following the 2001 Al-Queada attacks.
Foreign troops under NATO command will also withdraw from Afghanistan in coordination with the U.S. pullout.
Blinken’s visit is to brief Afghanistan’s officials on Biden’s plan to withdraw all American troops from the country on September 11.
The diplomat met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose government remains embroiled in fierce fighting with Taliban insurgents.
But Blinken reassured Ghani that Washington will “intensify” its diplomacy to do “everything we can” to advance efforts to secure a peace agreement between Kabul and the insurgents regardless of the departure of U.S troops.
“The reason I’m here, so quickly after the president’s speech last night, is to demonstrate literally, by our presence, that we have an enduring an ongoing commitment to Afghanistan,” the US official said.
“The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring,” he added.
Blinken also met with Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, who expressed support for the U.S. decision.
“This does not mean the end of relations and cooperation between the two countries. A new chapter of relations and cooperation between the two countries has returned and we will continue our cooperation in various fields in this chapter,” Abdullah also said in a statement.