By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], June 26 (ANI): Dozens of Afghan Americans stood in front of the White House to welcome Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani who on Friday (local time) met US President Joe Biden for the first face-to-face interaction ahead of the remaining US and NATO forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11.
A protest was also organized by Afghan-American communities for the rights of all ethnic groups and for the guarantee of a just and lasting peace in Afghanistan that is acceptable to all. The protestors carried banners, one of which read: "We want a Democratic Afghanistan"
The diaspora stressed that the people of Afghanistan want Pakistan to take practical and transparent steps to close the Taliban bases and end its support for the insurgent group in the wake of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Afghans had among the banners with calls for Pakistan that read "Taliban has sanctuary in Pakistan."
"We are here to welcome our President Ashraf Ghani but our main purpose to gather here is to stop the proxy war in Afghanistan that Pakistan has been supporting and they are trying to destabilize the region," said Sharifullah Sharafat an Afghan American now living in Washington DC.
Khalida, a woman activist among the crowd, shared her vision of her homeland. "Our government is totally Islamic but Pakistan wants to put their way of Islam in Afghanistan. We want our government to have a constitutional law," she said.
The Afghan diaspora is worried about Pakistan's failure to live up to its promises of containing the Taliban has contributed to the unending cycle of violence in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan needs to stop backing Taliban, they need to stop supporting terror. As a US citizen I also appeal to the Biden administration to end all financial aid to Pakistan," Mirwais, a demonstrator said while speaking to ANI.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he warned Biden that Washington's move of withdrawing troops will have consequences for both sides, though he did not ask Biden to delay the withdrawal.
"President Biden's decision is a transformational decision that is going to have consequential results both for the people of Afghanistan and for the people of the United States in the region," Ghani said during remarks in Washington.
Ghani further said that discussions with the US have been very productive and countries in the region should "bet" on the Afghan government to remain in power, not on other forces. He said that Biden has made clear that the United States will continue to provide security and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the Afghan President announced that Afghan security forces have taken back a number of districts that had fallen to the Taliban in southern and northern Afghanistan. Ghani called on the Taliban for a ceasefire and to return to the political process.
Biden and Ghani met at the White House as US troops are leaving Afghanistan after over two decades of military operations there. The United States has already withdrawn more than half of its troops from Afghanistan and expects to largely complete withdrawal by July, well ahead of the September 11 deadline.
The White House has earlier announced a series of measures to provide assistance to the South Asian country amid troop withdrawal, including donating three million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to the people of Afghanistan through the COVAX facility.
Additionally, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is also supporting Afghan efforts to respond to the critical shortfalls in oxygen and medical ventilation support by providing emergency and structural assistance. (ANI)