Taliban Warns Biden To Pull Troops Out By Aug.31 As Allies Urge US To Stay And Defend Airport
If things weren’t already bad enough with the past week of evacuation efforts and US scramble to get everyone out of Kabul international airport, the desperate situation is about to get a lot worse as Biden’s previously stated Aug.31 deadline for full withdrawal fast approaches.
A Taliban spokesman has put Washington on notice, telling Sky News there will be “consequences” if the Pentagon stays past the Aug.31 date, which is a mere week away. The Taliban official, identified as Suhail Shaheen, asserted that “President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So, if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that.”
“If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences. It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction,” he added. “It’s a red line.”
In the event of a Taliban attack if troops remain after that date, American troops, civilians, and Afghan evacuees could find themselves in a trapped and surrounded ‘Black Hawk Down’ type disastrous situation.
Increasingly there are “no good options” – with the White House in its until now slow decision making barreling toward an even worse catch-22 situation than it already finds itself in: on one hand the Taliban is warning President Biden of no extensions beyond Aug.31, with on the other allies like the UK are demanding it. France is also said to be pushing for an extension.
“We are really down to hours now, not weeks, and we have to make sure we exploit every minute to get people out,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, expressing the view of many European allies who are also struggling to get their citizens out.
Through Monday dozens of military as well as civilian aviation charter flights flew a record 16,000 passengers out of Kabul airport as the big push is underway to drastically ramp up the tempo as much as safety of airport operations allows.
The Taliban again confirmed in a Tuesday press conference it will recognize no extension after August 31…
JUST IN – Taliban not to extend the August 31 deadline and Afghans are not allowed to go to #Kabul airport anymore, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says in a press conference. pic.twitter.com/KRKzqaIhaZ
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 24, 2021
It’s official: the Taliban says it will not agree to any proposals for an extension of the evacuation out of Kabul.
US officials have hinted that the trigger has to be pulled within the next 24 hours in terms of decision-making, as plans would have to drastically change to increase the already massive undertaking in order to make the Aug.31 pullout date.
U.S. officials say the military will have to begin its withdrawal from Afghanistan by Friday to meet the August 31 deadline.
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) August 24, 2021
Getting the some over 5,000 US troops now on the ground out of the airport alone would take days to pull off in terms of putting the military logistics in place. Biden is expected to make a decision imminently.
Tue, 08/24/2021 – 09:55