President Biden has agreed with a Pentagon recommendation not to extend the Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline amid the effort to evacuate Americans and their Afghan allies, according to an administration official who spoke with Reuters.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, meanwhile, said Tuesday the Taliban will accept “no extensions” to the deadline.
The Pentagon said Tuesday the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will go from 6,000 to “zero” at the Aug. 31 deadline.
NBC News reported the U.S. Embassy issued an alert Tuesday warning U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan or they will be on their own and then recalled itd 30 minutes later.
US embassy issues last alert for US citizens to leave afghanistan or they’re on their own, then recalls it 30 mins later.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 24, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is among U.S. leaders urging the president to extend the deadline.
“Extend the deadline, get outside the perimeter, make sure that every single American who wants to leave is able to get out with our assistance and our Afghan allies,” McConnell said in a Fox News interview Tuesday.
“The Taliban should not be allowed to tell us how long we are there to get our personnel out. That’s our decision, not theirs,” he said.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, was more blunt.
“The only proper response from America to these dirty savage terrorists should be: Go f*** yourself,” he tweeted on Monday.
The only proper response from America to these dirty savage terrorists should be:
Go f*** yourself. https://t.co/n6Ip9V3Vwh
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 23, 2021
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tuesday that not every American will be evacuated from Afghanistan.
“You’re not going to get everybody out. You may get the vast majority of American citizens out” but not Afghans, he said, according to ABC News reporter Ben Siegel.
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations had a virtual meeting later Tuesday to discuss possibly extending the airlift past the deadline despite the Taliban’s “red line” warning.
Britain’s defense minister, Ben Wallace, has called the deadline a “mistake.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said most local staff haven’t left the country.
Fox News reported after the meeting that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said President Biden undercut a G-7 agreement to tell the Taliban the evacuation would take longer than Aug. 31 to get everyone out, and the Taliban would have to accept it.
WOW: Fox reporting that the G7 had an agreement in place to tell the Taliban the G7 nations would stay in #Afghanistan past August 31, and now Joe Biden has undercut our allies again. pic.twitter.com/tXGoPmA3ln
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) August 24, 2021
The White House estimates about 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan, but thousands may remain in Taliban-held areas, a U.S. official told the New York Post on Monday. The Pentagon initially estimated there were 8,000 to 10,000 Americans in Afghanistan, and the State Department estimated 10,000 to 15,0000, the official said.
The Taliban are no longer allowing Afghans to go to Kabul airport to try and leave the country, spokesman says https://t.co/kdGktE9tEd
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 24, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki scolded Fox News reporter Peter Doocy for saying Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan, despite numerous Americans alerting news outlets that they can’t reach Kabul’s airport to be evacuated.
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded,” Psaki said at the daily press briefing Monday. “They are not. We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home home.”
An American citizen whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Mariam Farzayee, told Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney she is receiving desperate phone calls from family members who are trying to get out.
One relative told her the Taliban went to his house, smashed windows and “broke” the families cars, and the family was “sheltering in place,” “terrified” for their lives.
“Every single day in Afghanistan they wake up, they don’t know what’s to come,” she said.
As the #Taliban take over #Afghanistan, American citizens like @mariamfarzayee are receiving desperate phone calls from family members who are trying to get out! #Kabul #VarneyCo pic.twitter.com/lueKrviu7Q
— Varney & Co. (@Varneyco) August 24, 2021
The Washington Post reported the director of the CIA, William Burns met Monday with the Taliban’s top political leader in Kabul, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, amid reports of repression by the Taliban. The CIA worked with Pakistani forces to arrest Baradar in 2010. He was freed from a Pakistani prison in 2018 through a Trump administration agreement ahead of peace talks.
On Tuesday, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she had credible reports of “summary executions” by the Taliban of civilians and former Afghan security forces, the recruitment of child soldiers, restrictions on the rights of women, and the repression of peaceful protests and dissnt.
“At this critical moment, the people of Afghanistan look to the Human Rights Council to defend and protect their rights,” she said.
“I urge this council to take bold and vigorous action, commensurate with the gravity of this crisis, by establishing a dedicated mechanism to closely monitor the evolving human rights situation in Afghanistan.”
Bachelet’s reference to a “mechanism,” the Associated Press explained, was to the appointment of a commission of inquiry, special rapporteur or fact-finding mission on the situation in Afghanistan.
However, a draft resolution by the council, the AP said, “stopped far short of intensified scrutiny — and appeared to push back any deeper look at the rights situation until next year.”
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