Taliban Warns of ‘Consequences’ If US Delays Withdrawal
A Taliban spokesman on Monday warned of "consequences" should the US and its allies seek to continue evacuations from Afghanistan beyond President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline
A Taliban spokesperson warned that there would be "consequences" if the US attempts to delay their August 31 withdrawal to complete the evacuation of Americans and Afghan collaborators from the country.
Speaking to Sky News, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said: "It's a red line. President Biden announced that by 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."
"If the US or UK 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 stressed.
Meanwhile, the White House reiterated Monday that it "is seeking to achieve its goal of evacuating all Americans from Afghanistan by August 31" under the agreement with the Taliban, despite allies' demand to extend ongoing operations at Kabul airport beyond the deadline.
On his account, President Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan also reported during a White House news briefing that the United States believes the Kabul evacuation can go until August 31.
Simultaneously, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace struck an almost pleading tone, saying that if Biden extended the operation “even by a day or two, that will give us a day or two more to evacuate people.”
British Armed forces minister James Heappey told Sky News that the decision to extend the US presence in Kabul is not only in the hands of Washington but also in the hands of the Taliban.
Heappey told the BBC that 6,631 people had been evacuated to the UK in the past week and that nine flights were planned for the next 24-hour period.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesperson said on Monday the UK still wants to fly out thousands of people out from Afghanistan and has not set a hard deadline for when evacuations will end, adding there has been no “direct contact” with the Taliban.