The President of the United States, Joe Biden, declared on Tuesday (24) that he will keep the deadline of August 31 for the withdrawal of Americans, Afghans at risk and others who want to flee the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, despite domestic and foreign pressures to extend the term. He argued that the risk for the operation increases every day.
“Every day we are on the ground is another day that we know ISIS-K is trying to hit the airport and carry out attacks against us, Allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said in a White House address, referring to an Islamic State faction with a presence in Afghanistan that is anti-Taliban.
Biden said the US government is “on the way to finishing [a operação] on Aug. 31” and that he is “determined” to complete the mission. He also said that the completion of the operation on time depends on the cooperation of the Taliban, and that the group continues to allow access to the airport for those being transported.
About 70,000 people have already been evacuated from the Asian country on flights departing from Kabul, Biden said.
The decision to stick to the deadline goes against European leaders allied with the US, who want the operation to last longer. The United Kingdom asked, during the virtual meeting of the G7 on Tuesday, the extension of the deadline of the humanitarian rescue operation. France, Germany and Italy are also seeking an extension of the deadline for the end of the American presence in Afghanistan.
Aid agencies fear that many Afghans who are eligible for shipments will be left behind. They are people who worked in embassies, as interpreters in other roles for allied countries, as well as civil society leaders and officials from the deposed Afghan government.
The American opposition also called on Tuesday for an extension of the evacuation period from Afghanistan. Senate Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell urged Biden to “forget” the deadline and expand the security perimeter around Kabul airport for the complete withdrawal of US citizens.
“The Taliban shouldn’t be the ones who say how long we can stay there to take our people out. That’s our decision, not theirs,” McConnell said in an interview with Fox.
The Taliban has already said it is unwilling to allow an extension of the deadline previously set by Biden.
Some Democratic congressmen expressed doubts about the US’s ability to complete the withdrawal by the end of August.