By Spy Uganda Correspondent
There will be ‘consequences’ if the deadline for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is extended beyond August 31, the Taliban said. This warning from the Taliban seems well-timed with G7 leaders set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Kabul.
A spokesperson for the Taliban, Suhail Shaheen, said the August 31 deadline for withdrawal of US troops is a “red line”.
“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations, the answer is no,” Suhail Shaheen told Sky News. He went on to say that there will be “consequences” if the deadline for withdrawal is extended.
Foreign countries, particularly the US and UK, are scrambling to evacuate thousands of their own citizens as well as Afghan partners ahead of the August 31 deadline.
In addition, thousands of Afghans desperate to flee the country are also rushing to the Kabul airport. The resulting chaos has led to nearly 20 deaths.
American security forces have been in control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul ever since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has even allowed domestic air carriers and civilian pilots to fly into Kabul for evacuation operations with prior approval from the Department of Defence in a bid to get as many people out of Kabul as possible.
In an interview last week, US President Joe Biden had said that the August 31 deadline for withdrawal of US troops might be extended if evacuations are not complete by that time.
Reports are now suggesting that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during the G7 meeting on Tuesday, is expected to ask Biden to keep American troops on the ground beyond the August 31 deadline.
Britain’s Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly confirmed on Sunday that the UK has already asked the US to stay in Afghanistan longer.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Sunday the country’s armed forces had evacuated nearly 4,000 people from Afghanistan since August 13.