Richard Bacon blasts Biden for ’leaving women to the whim of Taliban'
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The deadline is August 31 – and Dr Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesperson, has described it as a “red line”. The UK has evacuated more than 7,000 people from Afghanistan during its own rescue mission, the Ministry of Defence said.
This figure includes embassy staff, those eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and British nationals.
The UK has committed to accepting 5,000 refugees, with 20,000 coming to the UK for the long-term during the space of five years.
The White House has said the US has in total evacuated from than 48,000 people since August 14.
Out of this figure, 10,900 people were airlifted out during a 12-hour period on Monday.
Dr Shaheen spoke to Sky News in Doha.
He said: “It’s a red line. President Biden announced that on 31 August 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.
“It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction.”
Boris Johnson is expected to speak personally with President Biden to urge an extension to the deadline for US troops to leave Afghanistan.
This will enable more people to flee Taliban control.
However, speaking after the interview, John Kirby, US Department of Defence press secretary, said: “The goal is to get as many people out as fast as possible, and while we’re glad to see the numbers that we got yesterday, we’re not going to rest on any laurels.”
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Speaking on the Taliban’s comments to Sky News, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “I’ve seen the reports. I don’t think we’ve had any direct communication to that end.
“We will continue to run our evacuation process as long as the security situation allows.”
He said: “It’s important to remember we are not the only people flying evacuees out.
“So it’s certainly conceivable that even without a US military footprint [in Afghanistan], that people could still be able to get out of Kabul.”
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