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Biden-Ghani Phone Call: Taliban's Offensive Contradicts Their Claim to Support Negotiated Settlement

© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTUS President Joe Biden meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah at the White House, in Washington, DC, 25 June 2021.
US President Joe Biden meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah at the White House, in Washington, DC, 25 June 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.07.2021
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The two leaders also deplored the loss of innocent Afghan lives, including through targeted killings, as well as the displacement of the civilian population and destruction of infrastructure. Violence has intensified in Afghanistan since foreign forces began to withdraw from the country.
US President Joe Biden and Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani held a telephone conversation on Friday to discuss the Taliban* offensive.
"President Biden and President Ghani agreed that the Taliban's current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement's claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict", the White House said in a readout.
"They deplored the loss of innocent Afghan lives, including through continued targeted killings, as well as displacement of the civilian population, looting and burning of buildings, destruction of vital infrastructure, and damage to communication networks", it continues.
The Biden administration also submitted a 2022 budget request of $3.3 billion to Congress for the Afghan Security Forces Fund, according to the readout.
​This comes as Biden on Friday announced that up to $100 million will be allocated for unexpected and urgent refugee needs among Afghan victims of the conflict, including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants to reside in the United States.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said on Wednesday that about half of the 419 district centres in Afghanistan are under Taliban control, but they have not taken over any of the 34 provincial capitals in the country.
On 25 June, Biden and Ghani met at the White House, where the US president urged a stop to what he called the senseless violence in Afghanistan, but acknowledged that achieving that goal would be difficult.
People on vehicles, holding Taliban flags, gather near the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan July 14, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.07.2021
Blinken Says Taliban Takeover Would Make Afghanistan a 'Pariah State'
The two leaders' phone call took place amid an offensive by the Taliban to capture new positions in Afghanistan following the start of the US and NATO troops' withdrawal from the country as part of the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February 2020. 
On Thursday, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told Sputnik the radical movement had established 90% control over Afghanistan's border, including with such neighbouring countries as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.
* A terrorist organidation banned in Russia and many other states
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