The Taliban says it wants all foreign evacuations from Afghanistan to be completed when US troops withdraw from the country on 31 August and insisted there would be no extension to that deadline.
Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference the Taliban is “not in favour” of allowing Afghans to leave, and said the crowds surrounding Kabul airport in the hope of boarding a flight out had nothing to fear and should now go home.
The leaders of the G7 – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – were meeting today, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson among those expected to ask President Joe Biden to consider an extension.
Mr Mujahid said: “31 August is the time given and after that it’s something that is against the agreement.
“All people should be removed prior to that date.
“After that we do not allow them, it will not be allowed in our country, we will take a different stance.”
A spokesman for the Pentagon later said all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan by 31 August should be able to, and the US is “still aiming towards the end of the month” for the completion of its tasks.
Many in the international community have raised concerns about how women will be treated by the new regime, which is known for previously requiring women to stay at home and wear restrictive clothing, and restricting access to education.
Mr Mujahid said the current situation for women in Afghanistan under the Taliban is “temporary”.
He said that things will change, but that troops on the ground need to be “trained” to deal with the situation.
The spokesman added that the Taliban would “guarantee” the security of Afghans and there was no list of people being targeted for reprisals.
“We have forgotten everything in the past,” he said.
On Monday, another Taliban spokesman, Dr Suhail Shaheen, told Sky News that 31 August was a “red line”, and UK and US forces should be out of the country or there will be “consequences”.
Earlier today, the UK’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, told Sky News that an extension to the deadline is unlikely.
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Asked if Mr Biden will extend the 31 August finishing date, Mr Wallace said: “I think it’s unlikely, not only because of what the Taliban has said but also the public statement from President Biden.
“It’s worth us all trying, and we will.”
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