An extension of the evacuation date from Afghanistan after August 31 is unlikely, said the head of the British Ministry of Defense, Ben Wallace. Earlier, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, expressed doubts as to whether the Americans would be able to complete the evacuation from Afghanistan by the end of this month. US President Joe Biden is likely to make a decision on this within the next 24 hours.
“It’s unlikely not only because of what the Taliban say, but also what President Joe Biden says publicly, but it’s definitely worth a try,” said Ben Wallace. The British defense minister pointed out that as the international evacuation from Afghanistan accelerates, it is becoming more and more difficult to get to the airport in Kabul. The Taliban impede access at checkpoints.
Over the past 24 hours, Great Britain has evacuated over 2,000 people from the crisis-stricken country. In turn, the White House reported that 11,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan on Monday in just 12 hours.
The chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, said earlier that it is very unlikely that the evacuation from Afghanistan will be completed by August 31: – I think it is possible, but very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated .
So far, around 50,000 foreigners and Afghans have fled the Kabul airport.
On Tuesday, a meeting of G7 leaders was called, at which a decision is to be made to extend the deadline for American troops to remain at the Kabul airport, which would allow the evacuation of more people.
Extending the time limit for international troops to remain in Afghanistan is contrary to the position of the Taliban. If the United States or the United Kingdom begins to take more time to continue with further evacuations, our answer is a firm no. There will be consequences, warned Taliban spokesman Suhail Shahin in a statement for British Sky News television. He added that the stay of international troops after August 31 will be “extended occupation”.
French diplomat: end of the airlift with Kabul
– If US troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of the month, it will mean the end of our operation on Thursday evening. So we have three days left, ‘Nicolas Roche, head of the office of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.
The operation code-named Apagan consists in transferring people at risk from Kabul to a French military base in Abu Dhabi, and then – to Paris.
According to the French foreign ministry, 62 French citizens and a very large number of Afghans fleeing the Taliban still have to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Since the Taliban occupation of Kabul (August 15), the French army has evacuated nearly 2,000 people from Afghanistan, mostly Afghans.
Maas: I don’t assume we’ll take everyone out
The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. The Taliban said the evacuation period would not be extended beyond August 31. Many German and Afghan local workers are still waiting to leave. – I do not assume that we will transport everyone we want – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday in an interview with Bild Live TV. – We will not be able to get everyone out of Afghanistan on the remaining days of this military evacuation operation. Honesty requires us to say it, he admitted.
The head of diplomacy said that they are still in contact with 100 (German) citizens and their families, whose location is known. “We’re trying to get them to the airport as safely as possible,” said Maas.
In an interview with Bild Live, the minister also said: – I assume that a decision will be made in Washington today whether the evacuation operation will be extended or not.
The end of military evacuation – as Maas emphasized – should not mean the end of the possibility of people leaving the country. “To achieve this, you have to go the way you don’t want to go,” he said, referring to negotiations with the Taliban.
Over the past few days, the Bundeswehr has taken about 3,800 people from Afghanistan, including 351 German citizens.
Possible extension of the evacuation from Afghanistan
Earlier, one of the White House administration officials referred to by the Reuters Agency revealed that US President Joe Biden is likely to decide within the next 24 hours to extend the deadline for evacuation from Afghanistan. According to the official, Biden has yet to make a final decision, but some of his advisers have opposed the extension of the evacuation deadline for security reasons.
The end of the operation, scheduled for August 31, was also previously referred to by Jake Sullivan, a national security advisor to the president of the United States, who said that talks on a possible extension were underway, but the final decision would rest with the president.
Sullivan announced that the US will help evacuate Afghans who are vulnerable to repression, also after American soldiers have left Afghanistan. However, he did not specify during a press conference in the White House how the US would be able to help the Afghans.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / SATELLITE IMAGE 2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES