- Title: WRAP: Taliban says no evacuation extension as G7 meets on Afghan crisis
- Date: 24th August 2021
- Summary: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 23, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) TROOPS OUTSIDE THE DEPARTURE BUILDING AT KABUL AIRPORT VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SEATED ON GROUND VARIOUS OF COACHES ARRIVING KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 24, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VEHICLES DRIVING ON AIRPORT TARMAC TO AIRCRAFT PERSON WALKING UP STAIRWAY, SPEAKING TO FLIGHT CREW FLIGHT ATTENDANT MAKING CHECKS, PASSENGERS SEATED WINDOW FROM INSIDE AIRCRAFT AS PLANE TAXIS AERIAL OF LIGHTS FROM KABUL AS AIRCRAFT IS IN THE AIR
- Embargoed: 7th September 2021 14:41
- Keywords: Afghanistan Joe Biden Kabul Kabul airport Taliban U.S.
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Various
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERN164N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A WRAP OF HIGHLIGHTS OF EDITS THAT HAVE ALREADY MOVED. THERE IS NO NEW MATERIAL IN THIS EDIT
Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers said on Tuesday (August 24) they wanted all foreign evacuations from the country completed by an Aug. 31 deadline and they would not agree to an extension.
The hardline Islamist group sought to assure the thousands of Afghans crowded into Kabul airport in the hope of boarding flights they had nothing to fear and should go home.
"The extension was unilateral, by the side of the United States...We want them to evacuate all foreign nationals by 31st August and we are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in the capital, which Taliban fighters seized on Aug. 15.
The Taliban wanted to resolve the situation through dialog, he said, and he urged foreign embassies not to close or stop work.
As he spoke, Western troops were working frantically to get foreigners and Afghans onto planes and out of the country. U.S. President Joe Biden faced growing pressure to negotiate more time for the airlift.
Chaos punctuated by sporadic violence has gripped Kabul's airport following the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country.
Thousands of Afghans continued to crowd outside of the airport on Tuesday, waiting to flee the country ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline.
"There is no difference between the Taliban right now and the Taliban 20 years ago. Those in power 20 years ago killed people and I don't know when these will start (killing people). We are leaving until the situation clears," said one unidentified man.
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - were due to meet virtually later on Tuesday to discuss the crisis.
In the aftermath of the the Taliban's takeover of the Afghan capital, Kabul residents on Tuesday called for jobs, peace and lower prices.
"We urge the government to bring us peace and lower the prices for everything because the poor people cannot afford to live," said Kabul taxi driver Zainullah.
Western countries continued evacuation efforts as the Aug. 31 deadline loomed. A flight of evacuees from Kabul arrived at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in central England in the early hours of Tuesday, while another flight, carrying 250 evacuees, arrived in Belgium from Pakistan.
Countries that have evacuated nearly 60,000 people over the past 10 days were trying to meet the deadline agreed earlier with the Taliban for the withdrawal of foreign forces, a NATO diplomat told Reuters.
Biden, who has said U.S. troops might stay beyond the deadline, has warned the evacuation was going to be "hard and painful" and much could still go wrong.
(Production: Paul Warren, Hannah Ellison)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None