In the face of the Taliban threat, the US does not intend to extend its military presence in the Central Asian country

Afghanistan evacuation becomes a race against time


Evacuations of foreign residents in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan NATO and US collaborators, continue unabated, but some countries, such as the UK, fear that the 31 August deadline may not be enough. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that, during the G7 summit scheduled for today, where the situation in the Central Asian country will be discussed, he will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the deadline for withdrawing all US troops from Afghanistan.

Johnson said on social media that he will ask "our friends and allies to stand with the Afghan people and increase support for refugees and humanitarian aid". However, the Taliban are not happy with the mere idea that there is a possibility that foreign military operations could be extended in Afghanistan. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Britain's Sky News that "there will be consequences" if the foreign presence in Afghanistan is extended. 


Shaheen stressed that the withdrawal set for 31 August by US President Joe Biden himself "is a red line. If they extend it, it means they are maintaining the occupation as long as there is no need for it." The Taliban spokesman added that should the US or the UK ask for more time to continue the evacuations, the Taliban response would be "no". "It will create mistrust among us. If they intend to continue the occupation, it will provoke a reaction," Shaheen stressed.

Following the Taliban spokesman's statement, Biden's administration has insisted on its commitment to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by 31 August. The US president's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, said he was confident in the US's ability to evacuate all of its nationals by the deadline. "In the days that remain, we believe we have the means to get Americans who want to leave Kabul out," Sullivan said during a press briefing. However, Sullivan said, "Ultimately, it will be the president's decision and no one else's".


The US National Security Advisor said that they are in contact with the Taliban on "all aspects of what's going on in Kabul right now". In this regard, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the US is "in discussions" with the Taliban about keeping a commercial airport operating in Kabul after the withdrawal of US troops. Despite the pressure the US is under from its allies, Joe Biden is unlikely to extend the 31 August deadline.

Britain's own defence minister, Ben Wallace, has himself acknowledged that it is "unlikely" that the allied withdrawal from Afghanistan can be delayed. "When they (the US) pull out, they will take the structure with them and we will have to leave as well. I don't think there is any chance of us staying," Wallace said. The British Defence Minister also stressed that the situation is becoming increasingly "dangerous" and the risk of a terrorist attack in the vicinity of Kabul's international airport is growing. The jihadist threat is also of concern to the United States, with President Joe Biden stating that the White House was aware that "some terrorists might try to take advantage of the situation".


At the G7 summit scheduled for today, the leaders of the seven most influential countries, in addition to tackling the thorny issue of evacuations, will have to create a common framework for dealing with the Taliban. The different countries will have to agree on whether they will recognise the new, as yet unformed, fundamentalist regime and if not, what policies they will pursue towards the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as the decisive role of Russia and China in the Central Asian country, however uncomfortable this may be for the West. The management of a new migratory flow will undoubtedly be on the agenda at today's meeting, with the aim of avoiding a repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis that put most of Europe in check.

This meeting is decisive in terms of knowing the position that the West will adopt towards the new Taliban regime imposed in Afghanistan, once the last international troops have left the Central Asian country.