UPDATED 2:23 PM PT – Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Joe Biden spoke with international leaders about the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan at an emergency meeting of the G7. During virtual talks on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron to demand an extension of the withdrawal deadline of August 31.
The Biden administration appeared to have no intention of extending the deadline however, which was a move top officials from the U.K. predicted.
“I think it is unlikely, not only because what the Taliban have said, but also if you look at the public statements of President Biden, I think it is an unlikely,” explained British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. “It is definitely worth us all trying and we will.”
Read the G7 leaders statement following their call today on the situation in Afghanistan ⤵️https://t.co/zNRqA47xW5
— G7 UK (@G7) August 24, 2021
Biden has been adamant of not extending the date, despite the Taliban doubling down on its demand for U.S. forces to leave by the end of the month. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said an extension was not apart of the plan because the goal to leave at month’s end had not changed.
“The president’s direction has been to complete this withdrawal, this evacuation and withdrawal by the 31st of August,” he stated. “That is the direction we are operating under and therefore that is driving a lot of our plans.
The comments came after the Taliban, which the White House claimed to be working closely with, said any extension would be intolerable.
“No, I must remind you that the withdrawal of the Americans by 31st is also a one sided act and contrary to our agreement,” asserted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. “We are sending a message to the Americans again to evacuate their citizens by this because they have the means to do so, they have planes and the airport is with them and they have to transfer all the forces and contractors who have relation with foreigners.”
Today the @G7 committed to work together on the immediate evacuation effort to ensure this continues safely.
We also agreed we must have a shared roadmap for engaging with the Taliban that aims to preserve the progress of the last 20 years. pic.twitter.com/YciNnWYtaP
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 24, 2021
Top military officials said to meet the August 31 deadline, troops would have to start pulling out this Friday. It has remained unclear how many people still needed to be evacuated from Afghanistan, as administration officials said tens of thousands have been rescued while refusing to say how many Americans were included in that number.