Despite a meeting with CIA officials on Monday, the Taliban is not letting the United States extend their pullout timeline, and they are demanding that the U.S. military leave Afghanistan by August 31st.
The Taliban has also demanded that the United States cease evacuating Afghan nationals and instead concentrate on rescuing American citizens from the country.
“We are not in favor of allowing Afghans to leave,” a Taliban spokesman said Tuesday. The BBC noted that the spokesman claimed that evacuating Afghans is a “violation” of the U.S,’s pullout agreement.
“We are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid adds it would be a “violation” of the agreement to allow evacuations of foreign nationals beyond 31 August
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 24, 2021
The White House revealed that many individuals had to evacuate from Kabul overnight, with more planes on the way from the U.S. Air Force to expedite the withdrawal process. The Times added that although there are a lot of people to be rescued, there have been “an estimated 10,400 people [who] were evacuated in the 24 hours from Sunday to Monday alone, according to the White House.”
According to a leaked State Department cable, only 4,000 Americans — out of an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 — had been evacuated since the withdrawal from Kabul began following a lightning-fast Taliban takeover.
As of Tuesday morning, BBC reported that the Taliban had begun to block Afghans from entering Kabul airport. In addition, they want the United States to recover just its citizens in Afghanistan after the deadline of August 31st.
Despite the impression that major efforts were undertaken by the Biden administration to push the Taliban to let thousands to leave sooner, this did not work.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported, “CIA Director William J. Burns met with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the de facto leader of the Taliban, in Kabul, where the two parties held a face-to-face meeting. This was the highest-level encounter between the Obama administration and the Taliban, who control the Afghan capital, according to U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.”
It’s not apparent whether the Biden administration will insist that the United States continue in Afghanistan, even if the Americans become stuck and “stranded” by evacuation operations, and if the situation around Kabul airport becomes even more violent. Afghans holding SIVs were advised by the State Department to avoid going to Kabul Airport.
This decision is not a surprise. Many were advocating against an extension, given security situation on the ground. Biden asked the Pentagon for contingency plans. https://t.co/3oeQCq3NvK
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 24, 2021
The president vowed to maintain the August 31 deadline.