Taliban will not enable Afghans to evacuate to Kabul airport

A Taliban fighter with an M16 assault rifle stands in front of the Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 16, 2021.

Stringer | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Taliban said Tuesday the group will not allow Afghan nationals to leave the country, a development that will occur a week before the US and coalition forces are due to leave Afghanistan.

“We are not in favor of allowing Afghans to leave the country,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

“She [the Americans] have the opportunity, they have all the resources, they can take with them all the people who belong to them, but we will not allow Afghans to leave and we will not extend the deadline, “he said, adding that evacuations by foreign Troops carried out after August 31 would be a “violation” of a promise by the Biden government to end the US military’s mission in the country.

“The way to the airport is now closed. Afghans are not allowed to go there now, foreigners are allowed to go, but we have prevented Afghan nationals from going because the crowd is larger, there is a risk that people will lose their lives, their” could be Be a rush, “said Mujahid, according to an interpreter during the broadcast.

President Joe Biden previously announced that he would be extending the departure date beyond August 31, but has yet to do so. The president is expected to speak to the nation on Tuesday after an emergency G-7 meeting on US and coalition forces’ evacuation and relocation efforts.

On Monday, a Taliban spokesman said Sky News had issued a similar warning regarding a possible extension.

“It’s a red line. President Biden has announced that they will withdraw all of their forces on August 31st. So if they are extending them, it means they are extending the crew while it is not required, ”Suhail Shaheen said, according to the report.

“If the US or UK is looking for extra time to evacuate, the answer is no. Or there would be consequences, ”he added.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a news conference Monday that the government believes it could complete its evacuation efforts by the end of the month.

“We believe we have until July 31st to get every American who wants to get out,” Sullivan said in the White House.

“We work with the Taliban and consult with the Taliban on every aspect of what is happening in Kabul,” he said. “Ultimately, it will be the president’s decision how to proceed and no one else,” said Sullivan.

Read more about developments in Afghanistan:

The White House said Tuesday that the U.S. has evacuated or helped evacuate or help evacuate approximately 21,600 of them within 12 hours on Monday, about 58,700 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 14.

The US has relocated around 63,900 people since the end of July, the White House said. According to the State Department, several thousand Americans are still waiting to be evacuated.

More than 5,000 US soldiers are currently on site in Kabul and support the evacuation efforts in an emergency.

The Pentagon said evacuees are flying from Kabul to temporary safe havens in the Middle East and Europe, including U.S. installations in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Italy, Spain and Germany.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report

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