Mon. Jun 21st, 2021

US News

ISLAMABAD - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief peacemaker, Abdullah Abdullah, will travel to the United States for a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.     The first face-to-face interaction comes ahead of the withdrawal of the remaining U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by September 11 in line with Biden’s direction to close what he has described as the “forever war.”   White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday Biden “looks forward to welcoming” the Afghan leaders and will reassure them of U.S. diplomatic, economic and humanitarian support for the turmoil-hit country as the drawdown continues.     “The visit by President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues,” she said.   Psaki emphasized that Washington “continues to fully support the ongoing peace process and encourages all Afghan parties to participate meaningfully in negotiations to bring an end to the conflict.”   Ghani’s office did not immediately comment on the visit.     The foreign military drawdown, which formally started on May 1, has led to an unprecedented escalation in fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents, dealing fresh blows to slow-moving U.S.-brokered peace negotiations between the Afghan adversaries.     The insurgents have in recent weeks captured dozens of new districts and both sides are said to have suffered heavy casualties, with Afghan civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the country’s long war.... Read More
WASHINGTON - U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday downplayed the importance of the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as the new Iranian president, saying that whether the United States ultimately rejoins the international pact to restrain Tehran’s nuclear program will depend on decisions made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi will replace more moderate Hassan Rouhani in six weeks, but Sullivan told ABC News’s “This Week” show that no matter who the Iranian president is, “It is less relevant than whether their entire system is prepared to make verifiable commitments” to abandon the possibility of Iranian development of a nuclear weapon.   ... Read More