- Why President Biden is sticking to his August 31st deadline of leaving Afghanistan
- A word from Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid about the situation
U.S President Joe Biden is sticking to his Aug. 31st deadline for completing the evacuation flights for Americans, at-risk Afghans and any other civilians seeking to escape the Taliban-ruled capital of Afghanistan. The United States in recent days has ramped up its airlift amid new reports of rights abuses that fuel concern about the fate of thousands of people who fear retribution from the Taliban and are trying to flee the country. Pentagon officials expressed confidence the airlift can get all Americans out by next Tuesday, the deadline Biden had set long before the Taliban completed their takeover. But unknown thousands of other foreign nationals remain in Afghanistan and are struggling to get out.
In Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference the U.S. must stick to its self-imposed deadline, saying “after that we won’t let Afghans be taken out” on evacuation flights. He also said the Taliban would bar Afghans from accessing roads to the airport, while allowing foreigners to pass in order to prevent large crowds from massing. It was not immediately clear if they would stop Afghans who are escorted by foreigners or in the process of being evacuated by Western nations. It has been difficult to determine how widespread abuses might be and whether they contradict the Taliban’s public statements or reflect disunity in its ranks. From 1996 until the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, the Taliban largely confined women to their homes, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves and held public executions.