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Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday to meet with the nation's president, Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is representing the Taliban in negotiations, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.

Driving the news: Blinken told Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul he “wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing to commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan," per the Post. “The partnership is changing, but the partnership itself is enduring," Blinken said.

  • Ghani told Blinken: “We respect the decision and are adjusting our priorities."
  • The U.S. secretary of state told Abdullah their respective parties "have a new chapter, but it is a new chapter that we’re writing together.” Abdullah said he was grateful for the American people and administration.

Worth noting: The sudden meeting comes after Blinken met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who announced the alliance's forces would also leave.

Go deeper: CIA director says Afghanistan withdrawal poses "significant risk" of terrorist resurgence

Go deeper

Updated Apr 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden says the U.S. will begin Afghanistan troop withdrawal on May 1

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden said in a speech Wednesday that it's "time to end America’s longest war," as his administration outlines plans to begin a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan starting May 1, with a full exit deadline of Sept. 11.

Driving the news: "I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth," Biden said. "It is time for American troops to come home."

Lawmakers react to Biden's plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers boarding a helicopter in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, in October 2008. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday called President Biden's expected plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 a "grave mistake" and "abdication of American leadership."

Why it matters: Biden's expected withdrawal date is four months after the May 1 deadline the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban last year.

Obama says Biden is right to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

Former President Obama speaking in Miami in November 2020. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama said Wednesday that President Biden "has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan," starting May 1.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, and specifically several top Republicans, on Tuesday rallied against Biden's expected plan to pull the U.S. out of the longest war in American history, saying it was too soon and could further destabilize Afghanistan.