Wed, 19 May 2021

Kabul [Afghanistan], April 15 (ANI): Secretary of State Antony J Blinken on Thursday met Afghanistan High Commission for National Reconciliation Chair Abdullah Abdullah and discussed the future of the US-Afghanistan partnership, said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

"Secretary of State Antony J Blinken met with Afghanistan High Commission for National Reconciliation Chair Abdullah Abdullah today in Kabul to discuss the future of the US-Afghanistan partnership, which builds on twenty years of shared investment," Price said in a statement which he tweeted from his official handle.

"Secretary Blinken and Dr Abdullah discussed the importance of continuing to work toward a negotiated political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

"Secretary Blinken reiterated the US commitment to the peace process and that we will use our full diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian toolkit to support the future the Afghan people want, including the gains made by Afghan women," he added.

Blinken, during his meeting, said the United States never intended to have a permanent military presence in Afghanistan, Tolo News reported.

"By our enduing to support to Afghanistan economically, diplomatically, politically--I do want to say that as we proceed, we will remember the extraordinary courage, strength and sacrifices our troops who served in Afghanistan in the past two decades," added Blinken.

"And now we are embarking on a new chapter in our partnership with the Afghan people."The US Secretary of State warned the Taliban against attacking the US forces as they are withdrawing from Afghanistan, saying any attack by the Taliban will be met with a forceful response.

"We will continue to support Afghan national security forces, but importantly we are doing everything we can now to advance diplomacy to bring in regional and international partners," Blinken said.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that the United States will start its final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on May 1 and complete its pullout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack in which more than 3,000 people were killed in 2001. (ANI)

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