UK Prime Minister plans to personally plead with Joe Biden to extend a deadline for US troops leaving Afghanistan to allow more people to flee the “reign of terror” of the Taliban.
The prime minister will use an emergency G7 summit of the world’s most powerful leaders to appeal to the president to delay the August 31st deadline.
Biden signalled he could be willing to bow to demands for an extension, revealing discussions were already under way and saying he would tell the G7:
“We will see what we can do.”
Asked if he had discussed delaying the withdrawal of troops with the Taliban, Mr Biden said: “Obviously we’ve discussed a lot with the Taliban.
“They have been co-operative in in extending some of the perimeter (of the airport). It remains to be seen whether we ask that question.”
After the Ministry of Defense revealed that seven people died in the crush at the airport over the weekend, taking the total airport death toll to 20, Johnson announced that the summit would take place on August 24th.
“It is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years,” Johnson tweeted.
Following that, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said:
“The leaders will discuss continuing our close co-ordination of Afghanistan policy and evacuating our citizens, the brave Afghans who stood with us over the last two decades and other vulnerable Afghans.
They will also discuss plans to provide humanitarian assistance and support for Afghan refugees.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban warned that there will be “consequences” if Mr Biden delays the withdrawal of US troops.
Taliban spokesperson Dr Suhail Shaheen told Sly News:
“It’s a red line. President Biden announced that on August 31 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.”
He added: “If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences.”
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