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An Afghan official on the tough love from Biden during White House meeting

Judy Woodruff speaks to the man at the center of negotiations for Afghanistan — both with the U.S. and the Taliban — Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    We turn now to a man at the center of negotiations for Afghanistan, both with the U.S. and the Taliban.

    Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

    Dr. Abdullah, thank you very much for joining us.

    Did you hear today from President Biden — you have just come from the White House — what you wanted to hear?

  • Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman, Afghan High Council For National Reconciliation:

    Absolutely.

    We are grateful. The president of the United States told us, the president — to the president of Afghanistan and our delegation, while the troops are withdrawing, and that's a decision which has been made, the commitment of the United States for enduring partnership with Afghanistan, in terms of supporting the Afghan people, supporting Afghanistan with $3.3 billion of assistances for the security forces, humanitarian assistances, diplomatic support, and all of that will continue.

    And, meanwhile, on our part, of course, we honor the sacrifices which the United States have made, alongside our people, with us, and remember those fallen. And we express our gratitude for those who have served in Afghanistan.

    But, meanwhile, I think it's good news. We knew it, but we heard it from the administration today. We heard it from the Congress today and yesterday. So that is — that will be good news for the people of Afghanistan.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I'm asking because the word from the White House to reporters was that President Biden was going to deliver what they call tough love, that he was going to say there's not enough unity in your government right now.

    How do you see that? Can you unify?

  • Abdullah Abdullah:

    Absolutely.

    That's the moment for Afghanistan, where the allies — or our partnership with allies transitions into a new chapter. And we, as Afghans, we need to do what we can do.

    President Biden promised his support and support to the allies. But, at the same time, he expressed underneath for the unity, which is what the people of Afghanistan expect. And that's a must.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    My colleague Nick Schifrin spoke to a Taliban spokesman, who denied that the Taliban are attacking Afghan military forces. He said the Afghan forces are surrendering to them.

    He also said the Taliban intends to treat women and minorities with respect. Do you take them at their word?

  • Abdullah Abdullah:

    Oh, I wish those were true, especially their treatment of the women.

    No, unfortunately. And it's obvious that Taliban have thought and they are thinking that they can take advantage of the current situation. And that's a miscalculation. If they think that's not true, then I think let's get serious around the negotiating table, and put everything on the table, and by learning from the history of Afghanistan that you cannot impose a military solution upon the people.

    Taliban should know that there is an opportunity to talk, and they may seize it, if they're not intending — if these — all these things are — which are happening is not their work. So, let's — why not get serious around the negotiating table?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Dr. Abdullah, can your government survive after most U.S. troops are out of the country?

  • Abdullah Abdullah:

    Inshallah, as well, God willing, absolutely.

    It's the people of Afghanistan from one side, absolute majority want peace. And it's the Taliban which has been the obstacle so far. And we are encouraged and called upon them time and again to return to the negotiating table with a clear determination and genuine sense of getting to an inclusive political settlement.

    From the other side, the people of Afghanistan, they don't want to return to the old days. And the — we have not just the institutions in the Afghanistan National Security and Defense Forces. And the people of Afghanistan are standing by their own forces.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And just quickly, the U.S. pledge to help thousands of Afghan citizens who helped U.S. troops during the war get out of the country, is that something you welcome?

  • Abdullah Abdullah:

    That's something which is in the policy of the United States.

    I'm not aware of the details. The solution is not to get out, but to stand there. But if there are situations that we cannot address or we cannot protect some individuals, and there is an opportunity for them, I think that's OK.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, we thank you very much for speaking with us today.

  • Abdullah Abdullah:

    You are welcome.

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