President Ashraf Ghani on Friday evening spoke on phone with US President Joe Biden and discussed “discussed the evolving but continuing relationship between the two countries.”
“President Biden reassured me that support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will continue. We have confidence that they will protect and defend Afghanistan,” President Ghani said in a tweet.
“We stressed on the importance of the Afghans coming together for peace and security,” Ghani said.
The White House in a statement said that President Biden and President Ghani discussed the situation in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring bilateral partnership.
Biden emphasized continued US support, including development and humanitarian aid, for the Afghan people, including women, girls, and minorities, the statement said.
Biden and Ghani agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict, the statement said.
Biden also reaffirmed the US’s commitment to continue supporting the Afghan security forces to defend themselves.
According to the statement, the FY2022 request to Congress for $3.3 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund prioritizes $1 billion to ensure the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing have the capabilities and maintenance to support ongoing combat operations, $1 billion to purchase and deliver key supplies for Afghan forces such as fuel, ammunition, and spare parts; and $700 million to fund continued payment of salaries for Afghan soldiers.
They deplored the loss of innocent Afghan lives, including through continued targeted killings, as well as displacement of the civilian population, looting and burning of buildings, destruction of vital infrastructure, and damage to communication networks, the statement said.
Biden urged continued work for unity among Afghan leaders on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the values on which it is based, the statement said.
“The two leaders discussed the importance of Afghans coming together to support their common interest in security and peace, and President Biden underscored continued US diplomatic engagement in support of a durable and just political settlement,” the statement added.
This comes amidst a sharp rise in violence. President Ghani has said that he has prepared a security plan based on which the current security situation will change once it is applied.
Based on the new plan, the ANDSF will beef up security measures for major cities, airports, highways, strategic locations and border towns.
Over 200 districts, including some key border towns, have fallen to the Taliban in the last two months. But the government has assured to retake the districts, especially the border towns in Herat and Kandahar provinces.