Top US envoy Blinken in Afghanistan for troop withdrawal talks

Top US envoy Blinken in Afghanistan for troop withdrawal talks

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Kabul: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan Thursday to brief officials on Washington s plans to withdraw all American troops before this year s 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Although peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government are deadlocked, they withdraw unconditionally-four months later than the deadline agreed with the Taliban last year.

Blinken met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as senior US officials in Kabul and briefed them on President Joe Biden s announcement Wednesday that he was ending “the forever war”, which began in response to the 2001 September 11 attacks.

“I wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan,” Blinken said after meeting Ghani.

“The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring.”

In a separate meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the Afghan government side of the peace process, Blinken said it was the start of “a new chapter that we re writing together”.

The Pentagon has about 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, and the number is more than 100,000. Thousands of a 9600 NATO force will be evacuated at the same time.

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