US President Joe Biden has said India, Pakistan, Russia, China, and Turkey have a significant stake in the stable future of Afghanistan and these regional stakeholders should do more to bring peace in this war-torn country, from where he will withdraw all American troops by September 11.
“We will ask other countries in the region to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey. They all have a significant stake in the stable future of Afghanistan,” Biden said in a nationally televised speech from the White House on Wednesday.
In less than 100 days after taking over as the president of the US on January 20, Biden announced to begin to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11.
The US currently has a little over 2,500 troops, which is far less than the 100,000-plus during the Barack Obama administration. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that there is no military solution to the current situation Afghanistan, rather a diplomatic solution is required.
“Even as we are withdrawing our troops, we will continue to support diplomatic and humanitarian work. We will ask other countries to step up, whether that’s Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Turkey — countries in the region that certainly have a stake in stability. We will continue to provide significant humanitarian resources,” Psaki said in response to a question.
“We will continue to be engaged. This is the president’s assessment about whether having troops on the ground, a military presence in the same way — in a version of the same way it has been over the last two decades — is in our national interest. And he has made the decision it is not,” she said.
Biden said the war in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. (Osama) Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq, in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war,” he asserted.
The Biden administration on Wednesday did not give details of its expectations from India on the latter’s role in Afghanistan after the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
In the past, successive US administrations have praised India’s role in peace and development in Afghanistan.
“India has been the largest regional contributor to Afghan reconstruction, but New Delhi has not shown an inclination to pursue a deeper defense relationship with Kabul,” said a recent report on Afghanistan by the independent Congressional Research Service.
“Pakistan’s security establishment, fearful of strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan. India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan and US rhetorical support for it exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement,” said the CRS report.
The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.
Under the US-Taliban pact signed in Doha, the US agreed to withdraw all its soldiers from Afghanistan in 14 months.
Since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks, America has spent more than USD 1 trillion in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan.
About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed, along with tens of thousands of Afghan troops, Taliban insurgents and Afghan civilians.