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Blinken makes unannounced trip to Kabul to reassure Afghan leaders on troop withdrawal

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

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