President Ashraf Ghani, after holding a telephone call with his US counterpart Joe Biden on Wednesday, said that Afghanistan respects the US decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
"Tonight, I had a call with President Biden in which we discussed the US decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by early September. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan respects the US decision and we will work with our US partners to ensure a smooth transition,” Ghani tweeted.
"Afghanistan’s proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country, which they have been doing all along, and for which the Afghan nation will forever remain grateful," Ghani said.
"As we move into the next phase in our partnership, we will continue to work with our US/NATO partners in the ongoing peace efforts," said Ghani.
Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, said: “We have achieved the goals that we set out to achieve. And now, it is time to bring our forces home.”
This announcement comes after reports that Biden will announce a complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11.
“This is an important moment for our alliance. Almost 20 years ago, after the United States was attacked on 9/11, together, we went into Afghanistan to deal with those who attacked us, and to make sure that Afghanistan would not again become a haven for terrorists who might attack any of us,” Blinken said in a televised statement at NATO headquarters.
Blinken also mentioned that President Joe Biden will speak to this in a few hours in the United States.
“I'm here to work closely with our allies, with the secretary general, on the principle that we've established from the start. In together, adapt together, and out together,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that CIA Director William Burns has told US lawmakers that there is a "significant risk" that terrorist groups in Afghanistan will seek to rebuild after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan later this year.
Division in Washington:
US senators on Tuesday had mixed reactions to reports about President Joe Biden's planned announcement on Wednesday to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11.
Top Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voiced stern disapproval toward the upcoming move. The Kentucky senator called it a "grave mistake" and "a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished,” Business Insider report.
"Foreign terrorists will not leave the US alone because our politicians have grown tired of taking the fight to them," McConnell said on the Senate floor. Biden "needs to explain to the American people why he thinks abandoning our partners and retreating in the face of the Taliban will make America safer," he added.
In the meantime, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the highest-ranked GOP member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also blasted Biden's decision as "reckless" and "dangerous."
"No one wants a forever war, but I've consistently said any withdrawal must be conditions-based," Inhofe said in a statement. "Arbitrary deadlines would likely put our troops in danger, jeopardize all the progress we've made, and lead to civil war in Afghanistan."
Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina echoed the criticism, calling the foreign policy development a "disaster in the making," "irresponsible," and "dumber than dirt."
"I know people are frustrated, but wars don't end because you're frustrated," Graham said in a statement. "Wars end when the threat is eliminated."
The New York Times also reported that the lawmakers divided over Biden’s plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
The report said that Republicans and some Democrats say it could embolden the Taliban, while others in his party say it is time to end the ‘Forever War.’
Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a moderate New Hampshire Democrat who backed the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq nearly two decades ago, criticized Biden, arguing his decision could embolden the Taliban to further destabilize the country.
“I’m very disappointed in President Biden’s decision to set a September deadline to walk away from Afghanistan. Although this decision was made in coordination with our allies, the US has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave without verifiable assurances of a secure future,” Shaheen wrote on Twitter.
US Representative Tom Malinowski issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the decision of the Biden administration to pull out all US troops by September 11:
"Removing our troops will not end the war in Afghanistan, or protect us against terrorism. It will increase the likelihood of a Taliban victory and the collapse of our counterterrorism partner, which would trigger another prolonged conflict in the country."
He continued: "I fear that our troops won’t even be coming home, since many may need to stay in the region to guard against the possibility of a Taliban takeover, continuing their operations from a riskier distance."
He used very strong terms to describe the Taliban and their intentions:
"Over the past few months, the Taliban have carried out a campaign of assassination against Afghan civic leaders, including women’s rights activists ... they are what they always have been: a ruthless, totalitarian movement determined to seize and wield power by terror."
"The Taliban are not capable of or interested in sharing power with Afghanistan’s elected leaders, and have made clear their view that the purpose of peace negotiations is to get American troops out, not to end their war against the Afghan government," Malinowski said, adding: "We cannot realistically hope that diplomacy or aid will persuade the Taliban to preserve the democratic gains they have fought for years to erase."