With Biden Win, Afghanistan Hopes for Continued Cooperation between Kabul and Washington
Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee in the US presidential election, received a wide range of responses from Afghanistan on his victory. The Presidential Palace congratulated Biden and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, on their victory and stressed the need for continued cooperation between Kabul and Washington. President Ashraf Ghani referred to the United States as a “key partner” in the fight against terrorism and the maintenance of peace, adding that the government wished to continue and deepen its “multi-layered strategic partnership” with this country. Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai, Sarwar Danish, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Atta Mohammad Noor and other politicians also congratulated Biden on his victory and expressed their hopes for continued cooperation between Kabul and Washington. However, in Doha, where intra-Afghan negotiations are ongoing, silence prevailed and members of both sides did not comment on the extent of the impact of the election results on the plans of both sides. Earlier, the international media reported that Afghan officials were hoping for the victory of Biden, while the Taliban were hoping for a Trump win in the US presidential election, and that this issue had affected the decision-making process at the negotiating table.
Although the final results of the US presidential election have not yet been officially declared, going by the Electoral College, Biden’s victory in this election is final. In addition to international responses, Biden’s victory also received a wide range of reactions in Afghanistan. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, congratulated Biden and his Vice-Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, in a tweet on Sunday, November 8. Mr. Ghani called the country a “key partner” of Afghanistan, particularly in the fight against terrorism and the maintenance of peace in the country, and hoped for continued Kabul-Washington cooperation. According to President Ghani, the government wants the two countries to “continue to deepen their multi-layered strategic partnership”
Mohammad Sarwar Danish, the second Vice President, also congratulated Joe Biden on his victory. Mr. Danish, in a tweet, called the American people’s choice “historic.” He noted that the United States is a “strategic partner” and “major supporter” of the Afghan government and its people, and that the government continues to work together in the fight against terrorism and for peace in this country. Mr. Danish pointed out the advances made by the people and Government of Afghanistan in the areas of human rights, women’s rights, freedom of expression and bringing about justice and equality, and hoped that the new administration would cooperate with the Government of Afghanistan in protecting these achievements.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of the Supreme Council of National Reconciliation congratulated Joe Biden on his victory and the historic choice of the American people in the election by sharing a picture of himself with the president-elect on Twitter. Hamid Karzai, the former president, later on joined in congratulating Biden on his victory. Mr. Karzai hoped that the new US government’s policy and relationship with Afghanistan, would be focused on ensuring peace and stability in the country, and would thus bring an end to war and the bloodshed, giving the people a “lasting peace.” Mohammad Mohaqiq, chairman of the People’s Unity Party of Afghanistan, on his part, wished Biden and Harris success. He hoped that with Biden in the White House, “the United States and Afghanistan would experience a new chapter of positive interaction.” In addition to “Strengthening mutual cooperation between the two countries with respect for the legitimate rights of both parties,” Mr. Mohaqiq sought an end to the “chapter of appeasing terrorism” in relation to national reconciliation and support for the common values of the Afghan people and the world.
Atta Mohammad Noor, a prominent member of the Jamiat-e-Islami party, also congratulated Biden on his victory in the US presidential election. With Joe Biden in the White House, the people of Afghanistan, expected the continued support of the US to the Afghan government and its people, in addition to support for accelerating the process of peace and stability in the country, and assisting the people in reaching peace and comfort. Biden, who is said to be a “veteran” in the field of politics, had said he would pay more attention to strengthening and maintaining relations between the two countries.
Prior to this, the international media had repeatedly reported that the Afghan government was awaiting the results of the US presidential election before taking any important steps forward. According to analysts, Afghan officials believe that Biden’s programs in Afghanistan would different from those of Trump, and that they should not rush to make decisions in this regard. Analysts say that the government and Afghans believed that the Trump administration had overly appeased the Taliban during the Doha Peace Talks. Mohammad Mohaqiq, while congratulating Biden on his victory, implicitly pointed this out in his remarks.
Some other media outlets also reported that as the peace agreement had been signed during the Trump administration, the Taliban was looking forward to his victory, an assertion which was later on rejected by the Taliban. These issues were also raised in the Doha negotiations, and informed sources said that the two sides were closely following the US presidential election in the last two weeks. According to these sources, the stalemate in the intra-Afghan negotiations had its roots in the US election. However, members of the negotiating team, both from the Afghan government and the Taliban, denied any influence of the US election, saying that the presence of either of the candidates in the US presidential seat would not disrupt their peace program or plans.
Although Biden’s victory has led to speculation about a change in US policy towards Afghanistan, according to analysts, there is little difference between the policies of Trump and Biden relating to the country, especially in the peace process. Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban, who was present for most of the US-Taliban peace agreement discussions, said that US policy was a country’s policy and that Biden’s presence in the White House would not have much of an effect on the current negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Earlier, international analysts had also said that Trump and Biden’s policies were similar in Afghanistan, for which reason neither of the two sides touched upon this matter during their election campaign. Trump and Biden both promised that they would withdraw a small portion of US troops from Afghanistan during their election campaigns.
The US presidential election was held on November 3 and the counting of votes in a limited number of states continues. Although the final results of the US presidential election have not been announced, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, on Saturday, November 8, was able to reach the 270 votes required for the Electoral College. Electoral votes are said to determine the winner of the US presidential election, and the nominee must receive 270 votes from a total of 538 votes covering the 50 states. The total number of electoral votes in each state in the United States is specified, and in the event that a nominee gets the majority of votes in a single state, all electoral votes in that state are given to that nominee.