The Taliban will not allow President Biden to have an extension for leaving Afghanistan, a spokesperson has said to Sky News.
The United States seemed caught off guard by the quick Taliban takeover, bringing in more troops to control the airport and help in evacuation earlier this month. With the deadline of August 31 getting closer, Biden is thinking of extending the date if more people still have to be evacuated – but Taliban spokesman Dr. Suhail Shaheen stated “it is a red line.”
“You can say it is a red line,” Shaheen said during a video interview on Sky News. “President Biden said that Aug. 31st they would remove all their forces. So if they prolong this, that means the U.S. is extending its occupation when there is no need for it.”
“If the United States or UK want more time to continue evacuations – our answer is no. There will be consequences. It will lead to mistrust. If they want to continue their occupation it will cause a response,” he said.
A Taliban official also stated that foreign forces have not requested any extension and echoed the spokesperson’s belief that it will not be approved, according to Reuters.
The United States has increased its evacuation numbers after a slower start, but many more require evacuating. The Biden Admin’s latest update stressed that 28 United States military flights left around 10,400 people from the capital city between August 22 and August 23. During this time, 61 coalition aircraft left with around 5,900 people.
This brings the overall number of people evacuated by the United States to around 37,000 after August 14. Around 42,000 individuals were evacuated since the close of July, according to a Biden Admin. official.
It is not clear how many of the evacuated people are Americans. The admin. has struggled to find exactly how many Americans are inside Afghanistan, and there were reports of the Taliban beating American citizens attempting to get to the airport.
The reports undermine Biden’s statement on Friday, where he said the administration has “no sign that Americans haven’t been able to” get to the airport, and promoted the agreement with the Taliban on giving safe passage to American citizens.
Author: Steven Sinclaire