The Taliban will not agree to an extension of the evacuation mission from Afghanistan ‘warning of consequences’.
The move would mean “extending occupation” and that is “a red line”, Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban delegation in Doha, the capital of Qatar, said on Monday
US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the “hard and painful” airlift of Americans and tens of thousands of others from Afghanistan’s capital is accelerating, but he would not rule out extending it beyond the August 31 deadline he set before the Taliban’s swift takeover.
The airport has been the scene of chaos since the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on August 15 as US and international forces try to evacuate citizens and vulnerable Afghans. A NATO official has said that at least 20 people have died in and around the airport in the past week.
Britain and France were among those calling for the deadline to be eased.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Biden this week to extend the deadline.
France’s foreign minister said on Monday more time was needed beyond August 31 to complete evacuations from Afghanistan. “We are concerned about the August 31 deadline set by the United States,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
The Taliban seized power just over a week ago as the United States and its allies were withdrawing troops after a 20-year war launched in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants in 2001.
Panicked Afghans and foreigners have thronged the airport for days, clamouring to catch a flight out before the U.S.-led forces complete their pullout by the end of the month.
They fear reprisals and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law that the Sunni Muslim group enforced when it held power from 1996 to 2001.