AAF Response to President Biden’s July 08, 2021 Remarks on the Drawdown in Afghanistan
“While US military involvement has wound down in Afghanistan, US engagement in Afghanistan cannot end with it. President Biden must make clear that the US will keep its commitments in Afghanistan and will keep other parties accountable for doing the same.“
(Washington D.C. 7/13/21) The Afghan-American Foundation (AAF) was created to represent and advance the interests of the Afghan-American community through sustained engagement. In the current moment, no interest is of more importance to our community than the quickly evolving situation in Afghanistan.
As a non-partisan institution, AAF seeks to work with policymakers from across the political spectrum. Our organization is engaged in ongoing dialogue on the United States' Afghanistan policy with Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as the Biden administration. There have been places where we have agreed with policymakers and points at which our views have diverged. President Biden's recent speech on Afghanistan and his approval of an expedited withdrawal marked just such a divergence point, particularly given how narrowly his statement defined the relationship between the US and Afghanistan and the interest the US has in Afghanistan's future.
The bi-lateral relationship between the US and Afghanistan is defined by common values and a shared vision of a peaceful Afghanistan and a stable central Asia. In addition to common values, the two countries face common threats in terrorism and regimes that seek to destabilize the region and obstruct the path of freedom, equality, tolerance, and democracy.
While US military involvement has wound down in Afghanistan, US engagement in Afghanistan cannot end with it. President Biden must make clear that the US will keep its commitments in Afghanistan and will keep other parties accountable for doing the same. This starts with the Taliban, who made promises in Doha, Qatar to sever ties with terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, pursue a reduction in violence and engage in meaningful and earnest talks with the Government of Afghanistan that should result in an immediate ceasefire and a framework for a lasting peace. So far, none of those promises has been fulfilled. Likewise, Pakistan, a critical player in the ongoing turmoil, must be held to task in acknowledging its role in supporting the Taliban. The message from the US to the Pakistani leadership must be clear: its actions undermining the democratically elected Government of Afghanistan -- including recent statements by high-ranking Pakistani officials praising the Taliban -- are not acceptable and will have consequences.
The Biden administration and Congress must keep their word in continuing to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with allied forces in taking on violent extremist groups and regional proxies for the last two decades. The ANDSF is now faced with defending the gains of the last several decades against an emboldened enemy who is framing the US disengagement as a victory and a green light to carry out an assault on the Afghan people, their democracy, their institutions, and their hopes for a peaceful future.
In the coming weeks, AAF will continue to push engagement and dialogue around the ongoing opportunities and challenges in Afghanistan, including a forum with policy makers on reframing the US-Afghan relationship post-withdrawal. We encourage members of the Afghan-American community to participate, to continue to advocate, and continue to support the increasingly vulnerable people of Afghanistan.