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President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani meets with President Biden on June 25. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden assured President Ashraf Ghani on Friday that the United States would maintain a "sustained" partnership with Afghanistan following the U.S. troop withdrawal.

The big picture: The oval office meeting comes as Afghanistan faces increasingly dire threats from a violent insurgency.

  • The U.S. withdrawal — which had a deadline of Sept. 11 — is expected to be completed over the next two weeks, according to the Associated Press.
  • About 650 U.S. troops are expected to remain in country to provide security for American diplomats, per AP.
  • The Biden administration announced this week that it plans to evacuate thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. military and could now be targeted by the Taliban.

What they're saying: "The partnership between Afghanistan and the United States is not ending. It’s going to be sustained," Biden said, per a White House pool report.

  • "Our troops may be leaving but our support for Afghanistan is not ending in terms of support and maintenance of helping maintain their military as well as economic and political support," Biden added.
  • "President Biden’s decision has been historic," Ghani said. "It has made everybody recalculate and reconsider. We are here to respect it and support it.”
  • "We are entering into a new chapter of our relationship where the partnership of the United States will not be military but comprehensive regarding our mutual interest and we’re very encouraged and satisfied that this partnership is taking place," Ghani added.

Of note: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani's top political rival and also the government's representative for intra-Afghan peace talks, joined today's meeting. U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also attended.

  • The administration has warned that the Taliban won't receive international aid or recognition if it attempts to take Kabul by force, and argued that the group should thus seek a power-sharing deal, Axios notes.

Go deeper: The future of U.S. counterterrorism in Afghanistan

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2021 - World

Biden's top team skips Africa, prioritizes Asia in early trips

Expand chart
Data: U.S. government press releases; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The travel itineraries of the Biden administration’s top foreign policy officials show a clear pattern.

The big picture: Early engagement with long-standing partners in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia; An effort to deepen relationships in Southeast Asia; Limited emphasis on Latin America beyond migration issues.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.

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