Biden to host Afghan president at White House on Friday
The White House announced on Sunday that President Biden will host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the visit would emphasize the “enduring partnership” between the two countries as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last remaining American troops in Afghanistan.
“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,” Psaki said in the statement.
“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,” Psaki added.
President Biden announced in April that troops in Afghanistan would withdraw by Sept. 11, but concerns remain about the Taliban taking advantage of troops leaving and taking over parts of the country, jeopardizing the already fragile government.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, saying there’s “medium” risk with extremist groups taking over Afghanistan within two years of the U.S. troops withdrawing.
Some lawmakers signaled they were upset with the move to withdraw troops. Upon hearing the news, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that “there are no great options” when it comes to the situation in Afghanistan, but he criticized the move by Biden to leave completely.
“President Biden, unfortunately, has chosen the highest risk option available, which is to leave no matter what,” Graham said.