Biden Pledges Support to Afghanistan Despite U.S. Troop Withdrawal

Fatima Gailani, Fawzia Koofi and Ashraf Ghani. (Flickr / Wikimedia Commons)

On June 25, during a state visit by the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, President Biden pledged to continue to support Afghanistan, assuring the Afghan delegation the United States will “maintain their military, as well as economic and political support.”

While vowing to continue the support to the Afghan people, Biden also stressed that “Afghans are going to have to decide their future.” Biden admitted that it is “going to be very difficult” but that “Afghans are going to have to decide their future of what they want. … And the senseless violence that has to stop, but it’s going to be very difficult.”

The Afghan president’s trip comes at a crucial time as U.S. and NATO troops are withdrawn the country is faced with increasing levels of violence by the Taliban and other insurgents. During a two day-visit, the Afghan delegation also met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

The Afghan delegation came to D.C. to ask for a continued U.S. support and partnership to the Afghan state to fight terrorism and defend human rights and democracy. Abdullah Abdullah, chair of the Peace Council in Afghanistan, also met with Biden, where he urged the president that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups continue to be a threat to the security of the world. “If Afghanistan is abandoned completely, without support, without engagement, there’s a danger that Afghanistan can turn once again into a haven for terrorist groups,” Abdullah told the Associated Press.

Members of the delegation included four women, two of whom are also negotiating on behalf of the Afghan government with the Taliban: Fawzia Koofi and Fatima Gailani. As part of the negotiations and their public engagement, they have insisted on continued U.S. support and relationship with Afghanistan, demand protection for human rights, and a one-person-one-vote system. Koofi and Gailani have been meeting with Taliban in Doha since September of 2020 as part of the intra-Afghan peace talks. Both have been vocal in pushing for the peace talks to resume and continue as well as demanding that values of human rights, equality, and democracy cannot be compromised.

In a conversation with Renee Montagne for Ms., the Afghan women negotiators reiterate that women have achieved a great deal over the past 20 years and do not want to go back to the time when they had no rights under the Taliban. Gaillani said it is important for the Taliban to understand that this is not the Afghanistan of 1990s when they ruled. “This is the Afghanistan where everyone is a part of it. Every ethnic group, every gender, every language, every sect in Islam—we are all together.”

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Makhfi Azizi is the director of the Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has been working with the foundation in this capacity for two years and works on issues of human rights, peace and security. Makhfi is dedicated to women’s equality, peace and democracy.