• Tuesday, September 27, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Biden warns Taliban, presses Pakistan as he announces Afghan exit

US President Joe Biden walks through Arlington National cemetary to honor fallen veterans of the Afghan conflict in Arlington, Virginia on April 14, 2021. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

US president Joe Biden has said India, Pakistan, Russia, China, and Turkey have a significant stake in the stable future of Afghanistan.

Biden added that these regional stakeholders should do more to bring peace in this war-torn country, from where he will withdraw all American troops by September 11.

Notably not naming Iran, Biden said that the countries in the region “have a significant stake in the stable future” of Afghanistan.

He also warned the Taliban Wednesday (14) he would hold them accountable on Afghanistan after the US exit and pressed nations including Pakistan to play supportive roles.

“We will hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the US or its allies from Afghan soil. The Afghan government has made that commitment to us as well,” Biden said in a speech announcing an end to America’s longest war.

Pakistan is the historic backer of the Taliban, whose 1996-2001 regime was ousted by a US invasion following the September 11 attacks.

Under an agreement negotiated by former president Donald Trump’s administration, the Taliban promised not to give sanctuary to Al-Qaeda or other foreign extremists — the original reason for the 2001 invasion.

Biden, while saying the US has accomplished its mission, saluted the efforts of the Afghan government and promised to maintain support.

“They will continue to fight valiantly on behalf of the Afghans at great cost,” Biden said.

The US currently has a little over 2,500 troops, which is far less than the 100,000-plus during the Barack Obama administration.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that there is no military solution to the current situation of Afghanistan, rather a diplomatic solution is required.

According to Biden, the war in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking.

“We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. (Osama) Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq, in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war,” he asserted.

India’s role

In the past, successive US administrations have praised India’s role in peace and development in Afghanistan.

“India has been the largest regional contributor to Afghan reconstruction, but New Delhi has not shown an inclination to pursue a deeper defense relationship with Kabul,” said a recent report on Afghanistan by the independent Congressional Research Service.

“Pakistan’s security establishment, fearful of strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan. India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan and US rhetorical support for it exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement.”.

The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020, to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.

Under the US-Taliban pact signed in Doha, the US agreed to withdraw all its soldiers from Afghanistan in 14 months.

Since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks, America has spent more than $1 trillion in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan.

About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed, along with tens of thousands of Afghan troops, Taliban insurgents and Afghan civilians.

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