Taliban actions to be mointored, says Biden

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Biden said the US is on track to get all of its forces out of Afghanistan by Aug 31, as he had previously laid out, but cautioned the timeline is dependent on cooperation from the Taliban, reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) that Taliban will be judged by their actions and G7 leaders, EU, NATO and United Nations would respond to the terror group’s behaviour accordingly, while collectively agreeing to support refugees and evacuees that are currently fleeing Afghanistan.

“G7 leaders, EU, NATO, United Nations have agreed to stand united in our approach to the Taliban. We’ll judge them (Taliban) by their actions and we’ll stay in close coordination on any steps that we take moving forward in response to Taliban behaviour,” he said at the White House.

Biden said the US is on track to get all of its forces out of Afghanistan by Aug 31, as he had previously laid out, but cautioned the timeline is dependent on cooperation from the Taliban.

“We’re currently on a pace to finish (evacuation) by Aug 31. The sooner we finish the better. But completion by Aug 31 depends on Taliban continuing to cooperate & allow access to airport to those who’re transporting out & no disruptions to our operation,” he said.

Biden, in an address on Afghanistan hours after meeting with other world leaders on the evacuation efforts, said he’s asked for contingency plans in the event more time is needed. But he stressed that the situation could deteriorate the longer the US remains in Afghanistan.

Biden said the US and other G7 nations has discussed their “mutual obligation” to support refugees and evacuees that are currently fleeing Afghanistan.

Biden pledged that the US would be “a leader in these efforts” and will look to international partners “to do the same.”

Meanwhile, the United States has evacuated or facilitated to get around 70,700 people out of Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of the war-torn country.

“The United States has evacuated or helped to get approximately 70,700 people out of Afghanistan since August 14. Since the end of July, the US has relocated nearly 75,900 people,” he added.

Biden also said that he directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide an update on Wednesday (local time) about the number of Americans who are still in Afghanistan.

He underscored that US and allied forces at the Kabul airport face a growing risk of a possible attack from the terror group.

Two days ago, he had informed that he is in discussions with his military officials regarding the extension of the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, beyond the August 31 deadline.

The US is flying thousands of people out of Afghanistan every day from Kabul airport. The US forces took control of the airport last week to evacuate its citizens after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

US should withdraw troops, contractors before Aug 31: Taliban spokesman

The US should withdraw all troops and contractors from Afghanistan before the August 31 deadline and no extension for the ongoing evacuation process would be possible, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said here.

“There will be no extension for the ongoing evacuation,” Mujahid told reporters at a press conference here on Tuesday

“We want them to evacuate their citizens, they have planes and the Kabul airport control is with them now, the US should withdraw all its troops, people or contractors before the deadline,” he added.

The spokesman said Afghan citizens will not be allowed to leave the country by the ongoing US evacuation process after the deadline.

“We are not in favour of Afghans to leave, we are not happy with departure of Afghans… The crowds have not been cleared outside the airport. We want the Americans to bring changes in their policy of encouraging Afghans to leave.”

He asked the US to stop taking “Afghan experts” out of Afghanistan.

“We ask them to stop this process.”

The spokesman also called on the Afghans thronging around the Kabul airport trying to flee Afghanistan to go home.

“We guarantee their security.”

Mujahid also reassured that no one is on the Taliban’s reprisal list.

“We have forgotten everything in the past,” he said.

As to the widely concerned women’s rights to study and work, Mujahid said the Taliban is working on a procedure so that women can work in the future.

He also urged female Afghan government workers to stay at home before Afghanistan’s security situation improves.

Mujahid said the Taliban does not want foreign embassies in Kabul to shut down or stop work, and has assured them of security.

The Taliban is meeting with officials from various foreign embassies including the US embassy to maintain diplomatic relations, Mujahid said.

US-led troops have been ramping up the evacuation of foreigners and Afghans out of Afghanistan as the deadline looms.

About 50,000 foreigners and Afghans have left the country from the Kabul airport during the past nine days, according to the US government said.

Late Tuesday, US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders that Washington aimed at completing Afghan evacuation by August 31, while asking for contingency plans to adjust the timeline if necessary.

Biden is facing pressure from allies and lawmakers to extend the ongoing evacuation beyond August 31.

According to media reports, the UK and France had expected Biden to leave US troops in Kabul for additional days for the evacuation.

In a Tuesday interview with Fox News, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the president to “forget about the August 31st deadline” and to continue the evacuation.

Some congressional Democrats also questioned whether the evacuation could be completed in days.

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