The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kabul on Thursday and met with President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation and discussed the new relationship with the US following President Joe Biden's announcement on Wednesday.
Blinken visited Kabul hours after Biden announced the full withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan.
In this meeting with President Ghani, Blinken said: “The withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan will not mean the weakening of strategic relations between the two countries,” the Presidential Palace said.
“The United States will honor its commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan,” he said, according to the Palace.
The Palace also said that Blinken emphasized that the United States would continue its diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan forces and will continue its efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
During the meeting with Abdullah, Blinken said: “We have a partnership that is changing but enduring" and "as the president says, we have a new chapter but it's a new chapter that we're writing together." His visit was intended to show the "ongoing support the United States has for Afghanistan," Blinken said.
Abdullah responded: “"Thank you...you have been with us--in the past 20 years especially--you have made tremendous contributions and sacrifices alongside our own people and we are grateful" and "thank you for your support of peace."
In the meantime, the Taliban in a statement in response to the announcement of a US troop withdrawal by President Joe Biden, said that the group has kept the Doha agreement, but Biden's statement is a breach, which "in principle opens the way for the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate to take every necessary countermeasure, hence the American side will be held responsible for all future consequences, and not the Islamic Emirate.”
“The Islamic Emirate will under no circumstance ever relent on complete independence and establishment of a pure Islamic system and remains committed to finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan problem following the complete and certain end of occupation,” it said.
Blinken was previously in Brussels and discussed the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan with NATO allies.
After the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance has decided to start the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by May 1 and begin a process that will continue for several months.
"Our drawdown will be orderly, coordinated, and deliberate," Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin. “We went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together, and we are united in leaving together."
He called the move "the start of a new chapter" in NATO's relationship with Afghanistan, saying "Allies and partners will continue to stand with the Afghan people, but it is now for the Afghan people to build a sustainable peace".
He said NATO forces have been in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.
According to Stoltenberg, currently there are around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan – the majority from non-US Allies and partner countries.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the full withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan, who have stayed in the country for nearly 20 years, an announcement that was accompanied by concerns of plunging the war-ravaged country into a new civil war.
Biden said that it has been 10 years since Osama Bin Laden's death, and it is time to end America's war in the country and to bring US troops home.
“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said, adding that it will not be a “hasty rush to the exit,” and if the Taliban attacks, the US will defend itself and partners with “all the tools at our disposal.”
Announcing a full withdrawal from the country, Biden said, "We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago."
"That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021," he added.
“Our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue,” Biden said, adding that the US will continue to aid Afghan security forces, the peace process with Taliban, and to support the rights of women and girls.
Biden said that diplomacy will continue with regional nations, “especially Pakistan.”
“Our diplomacy does not depend on having boots in harm's way, boots on the ground,” Biden said.
"We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal, and expecting a different result,” he stated.
"The Taliban should know that if they attack us as we draw down we'll defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal."