The president will completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of August.
Joe Biden agreed to meet Taliban extremist demands on the condition there is a contingency plan, and the militant group cooperates.
“We are currently on a pace to finish by Aug. 31. The sooner we can finish, the better,” he said according to the New York Post. “Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops but the completion by August 31 depends on the Taliban continuing to cooperate, and allow access to the airport for those we are transporting out–and no disruptions to our operations.”
The president asked the Pentagon and State Department to come up with “contingency plans” and adjust the timetable if necessary. BL understands this could possibly signal there will be a U.S. military response, if an extended deadline becomes necessary to evacuate foreigners from the Middle Eastern country.
“Every day we are on the ground is another day we know that Islamic State is seeking to target the airport, and attack both U.S. and Allied forces–and innocent civilians,” Biden said according to the paper.
The remarks came despite mounting pressure from world leaders to secure more time to evacuate foreigners stranded in Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover.
Westerners blocked from leaving
The militant group asked every American solider, civilian, and collaborator to leave Afghanistan before the deadline.
“All people should be removed prior to that date,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said according to the Guardian. “If [western countries] wish to remove people before then, they can [but] after that we will not allow people to leave, we will take a different stance.”
However, the Daily Mail revealed some journalists have multiple sources on the ground who claim Taliban fighters have detained Westerners heading to Kabul Airport.
“The Taliban has now started halting people trying to get in through the airport gates,” Politico White House correspondent Alex Thompson reported. “Not just Afghans but American citizens. Informal groups coordinating need to redirect people on the fly.”
Establishing relations on condition
Group of Seven (G7) leaders previously urged President Biden to extend the deadline, because they have serious concerns about failing to evacuate all foreigners from Afghanistan. However, the Democrat refused, much to the disappointment of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
G7 meeting attendees agreed to establish relations with the Taliban government. They also offered to restore access to international funds, if the new leadership meets Western leader demands.
“[We] agreed [to] not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation but also a roadmap for the way, in which we are going to engage with the Taliban,” Johnson said according to the Daily Mail. “This probably will be a Taliban government in Kabul.”
They also stated the G7’s expectations about the Taliban side.
“The number-one condition we are setting as G7 is that they have got to guarantee right the way through August 31, and beyond, safe passage for those who want to come out,” Johnson said.
The International Monetary Fund previously blocked Afghanistan’s access to more than $450 million in emergency reserves.
The prime minister confirmed the G7 is willing to release those funds if Afghanistan refrains from becoming a “narco-state” and “breeding ground for terrorism.” The nation is also required to educate girls until they turn 18.
“The Taliban will be held accountable for their actions on preventing terrorism, on human rights in particular those of women, girls and minorities, and on pursuing an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” the G7 said in a joint communiqué.
However, worrying reports are surfacing of militants going house to house, and kidnapping girls older than 12. Fighters reportedly want them to be sex slaves and eventually their wives, according to the United Nations and Christian organizations.
Such reports will make it harder for Western leaders to trust the Islamic Taliban regime’s commitments at least on this matter.