Last Updated on August 23, 2021
The Taliban have stated that the August 31 withdrawal deadline is a “red line” and that no extension would be given. On Sunday, Joe Biden announced that US troops may need to stay in the country past August 31 in order to complete the evacuation. The U.K. also wants to extend the deadline, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly set to lobby Biden to do so at the G7 on Tuesday.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has stated that no extension will be granted, however. Shaheen said that such a move would mean the U.S. and U.K. “are extending occupation” of the country. He also added that an extension would bring “consequences” for the U.S. and their allies. “President Biden announced that on the 31st of August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it, that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” Shaheen said in an interview with Sky News. “This is something, you can say it’s a red line.”
Shaheen added that an extension would provoke a “reaction” from the Taliban. “If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction,” the Taliban spokesman told Sky News.
A Taliban spokesperson tells Sky's @sallylockwood that there would be 'consequences' if the US chose to stay in the country after the 31 August deadline.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 23, 2021
The Taliban’s refusal to extend the deadline comes as the security situation around the airport continues to deteriorate. An unidentified gunman fired on allied forces early Monday morning, prompting U.S. and German troops to fire back. One Afghan soldier was killed in the attack while at least three were wounded. A day before, seven Afghans were killed in a stampede at the airport.
The Biden regime has been relying on good will from the Taliban in order to continue the operation. An unknown number of Americans remain scattered throughout the country with no clear path to the airport, which has became increasingly dangerous. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers that Americans were being assaulted by the Taliban during a call on Friday, contradicting Biden, who said there were no reports of violence against Americans. Upwards of 10,000 Americans were still in Afghanistan as the country fell to the Taliban.
Officials are also increasingly worried about threats from Afghanistan’s ISIS affiliate. Several ISIS militants have reportedly been released from Afghan prisons in recent weeks. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called the ISIS threat “real” and “acute” in a statement on Sunday.