American trapped in Kabul sends desperate plea to Biden Administration

An American mother is begging President Joe Biden (pictured at press conference Monday) to help citizens trapped in Afghanistan get home. She pleaded: 'We are in danger. We are in danger Mr. President, please help us'

An American mother is begging President Joe Biden (pictured at press conference Monday) to help citizens trapped in Afghanistan get home. She pleaded: 'We are in danger. We are in danger Mr. President, please help us'

An American mother is begging President Joe Biden (pictured at press conference Monday) to help citizens trapped in Afghanistan get home. She pleaded: ‘We are in danger. We are in danger Mr. President, please help us’

An American woman stranded in Kabul is begging Joe Biden to help her get back home to her children in the United States as the president rejected pleas from G7 allies to extend the evacuation beyond the August 31 withdrawal deadline.

‘We are in danger. We are in danger Mr. President, please help us,’ the mother, identified by the pseudonym Fatima, pleaded.

It comes as the U.S. ramped up airlifts by evacuating 21,600 people in the last 24 hours from Kabul airport, which remains besieged by thousands of desperate Afghans trying to flee the Taliban. 

The militant group said it will not tolerate delay to the withdrawal for troops leaving and warned of ‘consequences’ if the U.S. doesn’t keep to its August 31 deadline. This means there are now seven days to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.

Fatima is just one of an unknown number of Americans who remains trapped in the country. Government leaders won’t say how many U.S. citizens remain left behind.

Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 meeting to urge Biden to keep the operation going longer, however, White House sources confirmed Tuesday that the president had instead agreed with the Pentagon that there would be no change to the timeline of the mission.

Even Democrats, including U.S. House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff has said it is ‘unlikely’ that everyone who needs to be rescued would leave the Taliban-run country before Biden’s deadline. 

The woman has described the evacuation process as lacking guidance and being full of miscommunication. She also says its nearly impossible to get to the airport in Kabul (pictured above on Tuesday as thousands wait to flee Afghanistan)

The woman has described the evacuation process as lacking guidance and being full of miscommunication. She also says its nearly impossible to get to the airport in Kabul (pictured above on Tuesday as thousands wait to flee Afghanistan)

The woman has described the evacuation process as lacking guidance and being full of miscommunication. She also says its nearly impossible to get to the airport in Kabul (pictured above on Tuesday as thousands wait to flee Afghanistan)

An aerial picture taken Monday shows crowds and traffic outside the Kabul airport as Americans and Afghan allies attempt to flee Afghanistan

An aerial picture taken Monday shows crowds and traffic outside the Kabul airport as Americans and Afghan allies attempt to flee Afghanistan

An aerial picture taken Monday shows crowds and traffic outside the Kabul airport as Americans and Afghan allies attempt to flee Afghanistan

‘We are stranded at home,’ Fatima told Fox News. ‘We can’t get to the airport. When we try to get to the airport, we either get beaten up or we are afraid for our lives.’

Fatima said she, like many others, has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United States government asking for assistance, only to be told officials would ‘likely ‘escalate’ the situation on the ground’.

However, she fears help cannot come quick enough. 

‘This needs to get better and this needs to get better faster because we are running out of time,’ she said. 

‘Our lives are in extreme danger and I don’t know how long it’s going to continue. [The Taliban] are going to people’s homes at night and they are just taking them away.’

Fatima, whose two children remain stateside, says the evacuation process has lacked guidance, noting that there is ‘a lot of miscommunication going on’.

‘Imagine being stranded in the situation like this and not receiving anything for three, four days from U.S. embassy or the State Department,’ Fatima explained. 

‘And then they’re saying to go to the airport, but we’re not being given clear guidance. They are saying one thing and the next day they come and say something else. So you really exactly don’t know what to do.’ 

People attempting evacuation face traffic and huge crowds at the airport. Taliban patrols have also made it difficult for travelers to reach the gates. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, declared the chaos outside the airport a ‘dangerous problem’ and have blocked access to the facility. Taliban leaders claim this will not impact evacuation efforts of foreign citizens.

A military plane takes off from the airport on Monday. Washington pulled off its biggest haul of evacuations since the crisis started over the last 24 hours to early Tuesday morning, with 37 military jets evacuating 21,600 people from Kabul

A military plane takes off from the airport on Monday. Washington pulled off its biggest haul of evacuations since the crisis started over the last 24 hours to early Tuesday morning, with 37 military jets evacuating 21,600 people from Kabul

A military plane takes off from the airport on Monday. Washington pulled off its biggest haul of evacuations since the crisis started over the last 24 hours to early Tuesday morning, with 37 military jets evacuating 21,600 people from Kabul

The Taliban, whose fighters are pictured above in a vehicle patrol the streets of Kabul on Monday, is refusing to extend the evacuation deadline

Defiant Taliban REFUSES to extend evacuation deadline despite secret talks with CIA boss

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday the group will not extend the August 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday the group will not extend the August 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday the group will not extend the August 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday they will not extend the August 31 deadline for all troops to leave Afghanistan – just 24 hours after Joe Biden sent his CIA director to negotiate with the militant group in a bid to get the remaining American citizens and Afghan allies out. 

‘We will not extend the deadline for the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan,’ Myjahid said in a Tuesday press conference as G7 leaders met with Biden to push him to keep troops in Afghanistan to evacuate the maximum number of westerners and locals.

‘They are capable of evacuating their citizens and troops by August 31’, the defiant Taliban spokesman said. ‘All people should be removed prior to that date. After that we do not allow them. We will take a different stance.   

The statement from the insurgents comes after CIA Director William Burns went to Kabul on Monday for a secret meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post

Burns was dispatched to the capital city of Afghanistan as the administration continues to grapple with a chaotic scene at the airport and struggles to evacuate Americans from Kabul.

Baradar is now playing the role of the Taliban’s counterpart to Burns 11 years after he was arrested in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation, which put him in prison for eight years.  

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‘The road that ends at the Kabul airport has been blocked. Foreigners can go through it, but Afghans are not allowed to take the road,’ Mujahid said. 

Reports indicate that Taliban fighters have set up checkpoints throughout Kabul, stopping motorists to ask where they are headed or checking car papers. There have also been alleged instances of Taliban going door to door in search of former government workers and civil activists. 

Fatima, like many Americans in Afghanistan, does not know if she will make it out of the country or see her children again.

‘I can’t talk to my kids [on the phone] anymore because I don’t know, it makes my fear worse,’ she said.

‘I am afraid for my life. … I don’t know, you know, how things are going to go. But I really need — I really need our president to really consider this serious.’ 

Biden joined other G7 leaders on a virtual call Tuesday morning for an emergency meeting on Afghanistan amid intense pressure from NATO and world leaders for the U.S. to keep their troops on the ground and prevent a humanitarian disaster. 

However, the president has since accepted a Pentagon recommendation to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by an Aug. 31 deadline. Biden also asked for contingency plans to stay longer, should it be necessary. 

The Pentagon recommendation reflects increasing security concerns at the Kabul airport, where American citizens and at-risk Afghans are being evacuated.

Washington is telling the Taliban the Aug. 31 deadline is contingent on the group’s cooperation in facilitating evacuations. 

The president said last week that he will keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan past the impending deadline for complete withdrawal if necessary to continue evacuating as many Americans as possible.

‘If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,’ Biden told ABC News in an interview taped at the White House Wednesday. 

Now, the Pentagon says the risks to American forces are too high if they defy the Taliban, who said they would not allow for an extension. It means troops will have to abandon the humanitarian operation and start focusing on their own exit plan as soon as tomorrow.

‘We will not extend the deadline for the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan,’ Mujahid  said in a Tuesday press conference. ‘They are capable of evacuating their citizens and troops by August 31.’ 

The group also warned of ‘consequences’ if the U.S. crosses that ‘red line’ and Tuesday doubled-down on its threat, telling foreign nations: ‘Don’t encourage Afghans to leave.’  

Mujahid also said crowds thronging outside the airport could go home and their security would be guaranteed and he called on the United States not to encourage trained Afghans to leave their country. 

‘We need their expertise,’ he argued. 

Taliban fighters control crowds approaching the British controlled gate at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan

Taliban fighters control crowds approaching the British controlled gate at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan

Taliban fighters control crowds approaching the British controlled gate at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan 

‘This is a hostage situation on a massive scale’: Hannity blasts Joe Biden for capitulating to Taliban and warns that ‘many of our fellow Americans are behind enemy lines’ 

Sean Hannity condemned President Joe Biden for creating ‘a hostage situation on a massive scale’ over plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31 despite warnings that not all Americans will be rescued.

‘Our fellow Americans are behind enemy lines and the hard Taliban deadline is approaching in eight days. A horrific crisis, no end in sight,’ the Fox News host said on his show Monday night.

The US says it’s difficult to count the number of US citizens still in Afghanistan, since not all of them registered with the embassy. Meanwhile, Taliban leaders have also indicated they’ll run out of patience with evacuation efforts if they continue beyond August 31. 

‘Now, it’s our responsibility to find them,’ National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday.

Hannity’s comments came after US House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff revealed it was ‘unlikely’ that everyone who needed to be rescued would leave the Taliban-run country before Biden’s deadline.

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Biden’s decision came after CIA Director William Burns went to Kabul on Monday for a secret meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar. The discussions likely involved the August 31 deadline for all U.S. military presence to be out of Afghanistan – including ending the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies. 

Burns was dispatched to the capital city of Afghanistan as the administration continues to grapple with a chaotic scene at the airport and struggles to evacuate Americans from Kabul. 

Rescue efforts became increasingly urgent Tuesday as Spain warned it would have leave people behind and France said it would stop airlifts on Thursday – five days before the deadline – if the U.S. could not secure an extension.

But despite the new urgency, Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who is chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warned that Biden is ‘unlikely’ to get all US citizens and their allies out by the deadline.

He told reporters after a committee meeting Monday that a full evacuation was ‘possible’ but ‘very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV’s, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders.’

The Biden Administration was blasted by Fox News Host Sean Hannity in wake of the situation. Hannity blamed the president for creating ‘a hostage situation on a massive scale’.

‘Our fellow Americans are behind enemy lines and the hard Taliban deadline is approaching in eight days. A horrific crisis, no end in sight,’ Hannity said on his show Monday night, noting that the speed of the rescue efforts is falling short.

‘Every American who wants to get home can get home, but then Joe Biden said last week I can’t guarantee the outcome,’ Hannity said.

‘You know it’s irresponsible? Abandoning the Air Force base leaving thousands of unarmed fellow citizens helpless to the whims of the radical terrorist group and the Taliban. The only way any American can even make it to the airport is if, and only if, the Taliban allows them and they’re not allowing everybody.’

He continued: ‘You know what else is irresponsible? Abandoning interpreters and translators and drivers, each one that put their necks on the line to help US troops over the 20-year period of time. Now the French President Emmanuel Macron is now lecturing and accusing him of moral cowardice that reminded Mr. Biden of the collective moral responsibility towards the Afghan men and women, we cannot abandon them.’

Meanwhile, Washington pulled off its biggest haul of evacuations since the crisis started over the last 24 hours to early Tuesday morning, with 37 military jets evacuating 21,600 people from Kabul, the White House announced.

But they still don’t know the number of American citizens and Afghan allies stranded on the ground that need evacuating.

‘Since August 14, the U.S. has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 58,700 people. Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 63,900 people,’ a White House official said.

From Sunday to early Monday morning, 28 military jets rescued around 10,400 people. The latest numbers reveal that over half of the total evacuations from Afghanistan have taken place in the last two days.  

The US has evacuated approximately 58,700 people since August 14. Above, a family boards a US Air Force plane during an evacuation from the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul on Monday

The US has evacuated approximately 58,700 people since August 14. Above, a family boards a US Air Force plane during an evacuation from the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul on Monday

The US has evacuated approximately 58,700 people since August 14. Above, a family boards a US Air Force plane during an evacuation from the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul on Monday

Crowds outside Kabul airport plead with US troops

Crowds outside Kabul airport plead with US troops

Crowds of desperate Afghans stand in knee-deep water at the perimeter of Kabul airport

Crowds of desperate Afghans stand in knee-deep water at the perimeter of Kabul airport

Crowds of people outside Kabul airport on Tuesday, some holding children, others holding papers (left) and another group standing inside a moat around the perimeter 

Last chance to get out of Kabul: Joe Biden rejects pleas from G7 leaders to extend Afghan evacuation beyond Aug31st after Taliban insists there can be no extensions – despite secret meeting with CIA – and BANS Afghans from leaving  

Joe Biden Tuesday shrugged off pleas from Boris Johnson and other allies to extend the Kabul evacuation after the Taliban warned it will not tolerate delay to the August 31 deadline for troops leaving.

Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 meeting to urge the US President to keep the operation going longer, but the entreaties appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

White House sources said Mr Biden had instead agreed with the Pentagon that there would be no change to the timeline of the mission.

A humiliated Mr Johnson said after the G7 summit that the UK will continue to conduct airlifts from the country ‘right up until the last moment’ as he pleaded with the Taliban to let people leave after the deadline.

He said the leaders had agreed that the ‘number one condition’ that the Taliban must meet moving forward is to ‘guarantee right the way through August 31 and beyond safe passage for those who want to come out’. 

The Prime Minister insisted the G7 nations have ‘huge leverage’ over the Taliban because of the threat of sanctions as he said funding for the country would only be made available in the future if it meets the West’s expectations. 

‘If those huge funds are going to be unfrozen eventually for use by the government and people of Afghanistan then what we are saying is Afghanistan can’t lurch back into becoming a breeding ground of terror, Afghanistan can’t become a narco state,’ he said. 

The comments came after the Taliban repeating blood-curdling warnings of consequences if there was an attempt to cling on, saying no-one will be permitted to leave. ‘All people should be removed prior to that date,’ a spokesman told a press conference in the capital. ‘After that we do not allow them. We will take a different stance.’

According to Reuters, the Pentagon has told Mr Biden the risks to American forces are too high if they defy the Taliban. It means troops will have to abandon the humanitarian operation and start focusing on their own exit plan as soon as tomorrow. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has warned of the danger of a ‘shooting war’ at the airport as the deadline approaches, after the RAF extracted another 2,000 people in the past 24 hours. Berlin and Paris have also been ramping up their evacuation, but there are still thousands of desperate people waiting to be taken to safety.  

Efforts have been continuing on both sides of the Atlantic to get Mr Biden to change his approach, after he faced a furious backlash for his hamfisted handling of the crisis. The US chair of the House Intelligence Committee has said the current timetable for evacuating America citizens and their allies is almost certain to fail.

Tory MP Tom Tugendhat – who served as an Army officer in Afghanistan – said all the UK could do was ‘ask the Americans if they’re willing to stand with us’.

He added: ‘If they’re not then we can’t secure the perimeter and we can’t manage air traffic control, so if the Americans decide to go now I’m afraid that is it. But we can ask.’

Mr Tugendhat said he understands Mr Biden has to make ‘a very difficult decision’, but said many families are struggling to get through the gate and ‘a day, maybe two days longer, would help just a few more’. 

In other developments in the Afghanistan crisis today:

  • The Ministry of Defence says 8,458 people have been evacuated by the RAF since August 13, including 5,171 Afghan locals who supported Western forces; 
  • CIA Director William J Burns is reported to have held a secret meeting in Kabul on Monday with the Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar – the highest level contact between the US and extremist regime so far; 
  • Mr Wallace today rebuked a former Royal Marine for complaining that UK forces are blocking a charter flight from taking his staff and rescue dogs out of Kabul;
  • Councils are set to get grants from the government to rent or buy large homes for thousands of Afghan refugees coming to the UK;
  • Afghanistan faces an ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ this winter, the UN World Food Programme has said as it called for £145million in donations.  

The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden's position, saying the G7 had talked about the 'continuation of our close coordination'

The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden's position, saying the G7 had talked about the 'continuation of our close coordination'

The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden’s position, saying the G7 had talked about the ‘continuation of our close coordination’

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes 

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

CIA Director William Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 24, 2021

CIA Director William Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 24, 2021

Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital of Doha on Feb. 29, 2020

Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital of Doha on Feb. 29, 2020

CIA Director William Burns (left) went to Kabul on Monday for a secret meeting with the Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar (right)

Diplomats insist that the situation on the ground has improved since the weekend with more people being allowed into the airport, but satellite images showed huge crowds continuing to mass  

The US said some 16,000 people were flown out of Kabul between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, with thousands more due to leave the country today (pictured, a satellite image shows people boarding a military plane)

A satellite image reveals thousands of people standing in huge queues trying to get into Kabul airport with just a week left until evacuation flights out of Afghanistan are due to stop

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Hopes that Joe Biden (left) will extend America’s August 31 deadline to leave Afghanistan are fading, with Boris Johnson (right) making a last-ditch plea today

There are still huge crowds around the airport at Kabul with people desperately trying to get out of the country

There are still huge crowds around the airport at Kabul with people desperately trying to get out of the country

There are still huge crowds around the airport at Kabul with people desperately trying to get out of the country

Taliban fighters stand guard on cargo crates near the airport in these stills from footage taken by ITN News

Taliban fighters stand guard on cargo crates near the airport in these stills from footage taken by ITN News

Taliban fighters stand guard on cargo crates near the airport in these stills from footage taken by ITN News

Biden ‘unlikely’ to meet target of getting US citizens out by Aug 31 

Joe Biden is ‘unlikely’ to meet his August 31 deadline to evacuate US citizens and their allies from Afghanistan, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee said Monday.

Adam Schiff made the grim prediction after an intelligence briefing Monday evening, as the Taliban rejected a mooted extension to the withdrawal date.

Schiff said a full evacuation was ‘possible’ but ‘very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV’s, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders.’

Speaking outside the US Capitol, Schiff continued: ‘I am encouraged to see the numbers of people evacuated, increasing readily to the point where we evacuated 11,000 people in a single day,’ Schiff continued.

‘Nonetheless, given the logistical difficulties of moving people to the airport and the limited number of workarounds, it’s hard for me to see that being fully complete by the end of the month. And I’m certainly of the view that we maintain a military presence as long as it’s necessary to get all U.S. persons out and to meet our moral and ethical obligation to our Afghan partners.’

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Pentagon chiefs have poured cold water on an extension by insisting they are ‘focused on getting this done by the end of the month’.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the President was ‘taking this day by day’ and will make his decision on an extension ‘as we go’. 

But he said the President still believes ‘we have time between now and August 31 to get out any American who wants to get out’.

The Taliban has warned that any Western military operation in Afghanistan that continued into September would breach a ‘red line’ and would ‘provoke a reaction’.

At a press conference this afternoon the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid urged the West not to ‘encourage’ highly skilled people to leave Afghanistan.

He warned that the US should not be removing ‘our doctors, engineers, our educated elite’ from the country.

According to translation on Sky News, he said: ‘We need those people in the country, we do not want them out of the country to work in their institutions.’

He urged Afghans to ‘return to their homes and resume their calm everyday lives’ by the Taliban.

Mr Mujahid said crowding at the airport was dangerous and ‘people could lose their lives’.

In an apparent sign of the US administration’s desperation to find a way out of the mess, CIA Director William J Burns is reported to have held a secret meeting in Kabul yesterday with the Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar – the highest level contact between the US and extremist regime so far. 

The Washington Post said the discussions were thought to be over the US withdrawal deadline.

Mr Wallace said the danger at Kabul airport will rise the closer the evacuation effort gets to the departure deadline.

‘As we get closer to the deadline I think it’s correct to say the security risk goes up,’ he said.

‘It just gets more and more dangerous as add-on groups and other terrorist groups such as IS (so-called Islamic State) would like to be seen to take greater credit, or like to be seen to chase the West out of the airport, that is inevitably going to feed their narrative and their ambitions.

‘We are very mindful that we are very, very vulnerable should these terrorists choose to do something.’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said this morning it is 'unlikely' the deadline will be extended, after the RAF extracted another 2,000 people in the past 24 hours

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said this morning it is 'unlikely' the deadline will be extended, after the RAF extracted another 2,000 people in the past 24 hours

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said this morning it is ‘unlikely’ the deadline will be extended, after the RAF extracted another 2,000 people in the past 24 hours

US marines man a checkpoint during evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, on Monday

US marines man a checkpoint during evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, on Monday

US marines man a checkpoint during evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, on Monday 

Taliban guards marshal crowds outside the airport where it is thought 6,500 people are now waiting to board flights

Taliban guards marshal crowds outside the airport where it is thought 6,500 people are now waiting to board flights

Taliban guards marshal crowds outside the airport where it is thought 6,500 people are now waiting to board flights

A line of people are led through a military checkpoint at Kabul airport which has witnessed frantic scenes over the last 10 days as people try to flee Afghanistan and Taliban rule

A line of people are led through a military checkpoint at Kabul airport which has witnessed frantic scenes over the last 10 days as people try to flee Afghanistan and Taliban rule

A line of people are led through a military checkpoint at Kabul airport which has witnessed frantic scenes over the last 10 days as people try to flee Afghanistan and Taliban rule

Where do each of the G7 countries stand on extending the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline?

US:  President Joe Biden has set a deadline of August 31 for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. 

But there are concerns that will not provide enough time to evacuate all US citizens from the country. 

Mr Biden has been reluctant to extend the deadline and while discussions are ongoing in Washington over the feasibility of pushing the date back, the US’s European allies fear the President will not budge. 

Mr Biden is under domestic pressure to stick to the date amid fears the security situation in Afghanistan could deteriorate still further should US forces stay on. 

UK: Boris Johnson has asked Mr Biden to push back the withdrawal deadline because of concerns the current timeline will not be sufficient to complete the evacuation effort. 

Mr Johnson was expected to use today’s G7 meeting to push Mr Biden on the issue. 

However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said he believes it is ‘unlikely’ that the US will agree to keep its troops in the country past August 31. 

Mr Johnson and Mr Biden spoke about Afghanistan on the phone last night but a Downing Street summary of the call made no mention of a possible delay. 

France: Emmanuel Macron’s administration has adopted a similar stance to the UK, arguing that more time is needed beyond August 31 so that the evacuation can continue. 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said yesterday that he believed ‘more time is needed to complete the current operations’.   

Germany: Angela Merkel is also pushing for the US to delay its withdrawal beyond the current deadline, citing similar concerns that there is not enough time to complete the evacuation process. 

Germany has also said it is looking at how it could continue to extract people from Afghanistan beyond the deadline, should the situation on the ground allow flights to continue. 

Italy: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is also in favour of delaying the withdrawal of US forces to allow more time for evacuation flights to take place. 

He is also reportedly pushing for an imminent summit of the G20 – which includes China and Russia – to agree a global plan for responding to the Taliban taking power in the country. 

Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far kept his powder dry on whether he is in favour or against extending the US withdrawal deadline. He has refused to be drawn on the matter, instead insisting that his government’s focus is on ‘getting people out to safety as quickly as possible’. Canada has been the most vocal of the G7 nations on the subject of sanctions, with Mr Trudeau keen for the group to impose new penalties on the Taliban.

Japan: Japan has said it intends to complete its evacuation efforts before Mr Biden’s withdrawal deadline. Tokyo has therefore not joined the calls for an extension. It closed its Kabul embassy back on August 15, setting up a temporary replacement hub in Turkey. 

However, some Japanese nationals and Afghans who worked for the embassy and other agencies are still on the ground in the country. Three military planes are due to extract those people from the country before the deadline. 

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Mr Wallace warned that there was a risk it would turn into a ‘shooting war’ as tensions rise in the coming days. 

‘Obviously, all military personnel have the right of self-defence to protect themselves and protect civilians immediately near them,’ he told LBC.

‘I suspect that it will be a mixture of- well I can’t speculate what we would do but we certainly have plans, if we’re attacked, to defend ourselves.

‘I don’t think anyone wants this to turn into a shooting war in the last few days.’

Ben Wallace warns on risk of ‘shooting war’ at Kabul airport 

The Defence Secretary today warned of the risk of a ‘shooting war’ at Kabul airport as tensions rise in the coming days. 

Ben Wallace voiced concerns about the danger of escalation as he said the atmosphere could turn nasty very quickly with troops having to pull out. 

‘Obviously, all military personnel have the right of self-defence to protect themselves and protect civilians immediately near them,’ he told LBC.

‘I suspect that it will be a mixture of- well I can’t speculate what we would do but we certainly have plans, if we’re attacked, to defend ourselves.

‘I don’t think anyone wants this to turn into a shooting war in the last few days.’

He added: ‘I don’t think they want a shooting war either. They want us out as quickly as possible and we want to get out with as many people as possible.’

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He added: ‘I don’t think they want a shooting war either. They want us out as quickly as possible and we want to get out with as many people as possible.’

The Ministry of Defence said nearly 8,500 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan by the UK since August 13. 

In a update on Operation Pitting, the MoD said on Twitter: ‘8,458 people have been evacuated by the UK since 13 August. 5,171 of those people are Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy claimants. Nine UK military flights have left Kabul in the last 24 hours.’ 

The US has ramped up airlifts to evacuate more than 17,000 people in a day and Joe Biden has finally ordered troops to rescue Americans outside the airport in a race against time before the August 31 deadline.

Washington pulled off its biggest haul of evacuations since the crisis started over the last 24 hours to early Monday morning, with 28 military jets rescuing around 10,400 people. Another 15 C-17 flights over the next 12 hours brought out another 6,660.

Meanwhile, US Special Operations rescued 16 Americans from an unspecified location around two hours outside Kabul. The Pentagon revealed it was carried out by helicopter without disclosing further details.

It has emerged that Mr Biden told military officials he was reluctant to deploy US forces outside the Kabul airport perimeter over fears of a Black Hawk Down-style tragedy.

In a video conference last week, the president also negatively commented on how quickly the Afghan government fell apart and told commanders he wanted them to be focused on beefing up security at the airport.

During the call, the president alluded to the ‘Black Hawk Down’ tragedy of the Somali Civil War, which saw 18 US personnel killed.

Mr Tugendhat told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘We’re all asking for the same thing. I support the Prime Minister completely on this, but let’s recognise what we’re asking – we’re not just asking the Americans, although clearly they’ll have a major role, we’re actually asking the Taliban, and that’s a really difficult thing, because bluntly, they’re not exactly trustworthy.’

It emerged last night that Western powers are negotiating with the Taliban on the possibility of civilian flights being used in the evacuation, even if the military flights stopped. 

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said: ‘We are holding talks with the US, Turkey and other partners with the goal of allowing the airport to continue to operate a civilian operation to fly these people out.’ 

Germany will ‘also continue to talk to the Taliban about this and will do this after the withdrawal of US troops’, he added.

Mr Wallace said: ‘I don’t think there is any likelihood of staying on after the United States.’ 

Armed Forces minister James Heappey conceded that the Taliban ‘gets a vote’ on the evacuation deadline. 

‘We have the military power to just stay there by force, but I don’t know that the humanitarian mission we’re embarked on… is helped by Kabul becoming a war zone,’ he said. 

Zakia Khudadadi, 23, would have been the first female to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics

Zakia Khudadadi, 23, would have been the first female to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics

Zakia Khudadadi, 23, would have been the first female to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan refused to say whether US troops would stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban's August 31 deadline, instead passing the issue off to President Biden who is refusing to take questions on the subject or address it

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan refused to say whether US troops would stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban's August 31 deadline, instead passing the issue off to President Biden who is refusing to take questions on the subject or address it

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the President was ‘taking this day by day’ and will make his decision on an extension ‘as we go’ 

Asked about the Taliban spokesman’s remarks, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘I don’t think we’ve had any direct communication to that end.’ 

He added that ‘discussions on the ground’ have been held with the Taliban over extending the deadline.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said: ‘We’re focused on getting this done before the end of the month.’ 

But he said the US would ‘absolutely consider the views’ of allies.

‘The blood is on Biden’s hands’: Republican veterans say Afghanistan will be the ‘biggest hostage crisis in history’ and tear into the president for ‘leaving Americans behind just days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11’ 

A group of Republican lawmakers including military veterans tore into President Joe Biden over his handling of the Afghanistan crisis and demanded he extend the  evacuation deadline past August 31 during a press briefing outside the Capitol on Tuesday.

‘We’re going to leave Americans behind 11 days before the 20th anniversary of September 11? Are you kidding me?’ Rep. Mike Waltz said. ‘The Taliban taking over means Al Qaeda 3.0 comes roaring back, except we’re in a worse position than before.’  

‘Are we going to have another pulse night club? Are we going to have another San Bernardino? Are we going to have another 9/11 because of that incompetence?’

‘That blood is and will be on Joe Biden’s hands.’

Their threat comes as the Taliban announced they are blocking Afghan citizens from accessing Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after allowing evacuations for little more than a week. 

Biden initially seemed open to extending the deadline if necessary. As of Tuesday morning he is standing firm on the August 31 date, Reuters reports after the president’s emergency meeting with other G7 leaders. 

The GOP lawmakers said blood would be on Biden's hands if he doesn't extend the August 31 deadline to get all Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan

The GOP lawmakers said blood would be on Biden's hands if he doesn't extend the August 31 deadline to get all Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan

The GOP lawmakers said blood would be on Biden’s hands if he doesn’t extend the August 31 deadline to get all Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan

Waltz, the first Green Beret special forces veteran to serve in Congress, served multiple tours in Afghanistan.

He said not extending the deadline means leaving Americans and allies ‘stranded’ – seemingly taking a shot at White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Psaki on Monday called out a reporter who asked about Americans ‘stranded’ in Kabul – telling him using the term was ‘irresponsible.’

At one point Waltz displayed a framed letter he said hangs on his office wall, claiming it was sent by the Taliban to a school principal.

The Taliban allegedly threatened ‘if he didn’t get out of town he would be beheaded within 24 hours’ for running a school for girls.

At one point Rep. Waltz, a Green Beret, held up a letter from the Taliban to an Afghan school principal, warning he would be beheaded for running a girls' school

At one point Rep. Waltz, a Green Beret, held up a letter from the Taliban to an Afghan school principal, warning he would be beheaded for running a girls' school

At one point Rep. Waltz, a Green Beret, held up a letter from the Taliban to an Afghan school principal, warning he would be beheaded for running a girls’ school

‘I leave this up as a reminder of the evil we’re dealing with, and what we’re condemning these people to,’ Waltz said. 

Rep. Ronny Jackson, former White House physician and also an Afghanistan veteran, said the Biden administration ‘betrayed’ the people of Afghanistan.

‘We are at the very beginning of this crisis that Biden has created,’ he said. ‘We need him and we need his team to resign.’

The Pentagon said in a press briefing Tuesday that it did not have a number for how many Americans or Afghan allies are still in the country.

‘We are on the cusp of the biggest mass hostage crisis this country has ever seen,’ Waltz warned.

He said the looming threat would make the Tehran embassy hostage crisis in 1979 ‘look like a sleepover.’

A total of 57 coalition flights and 37 US military flights evacuated roughly 21,600 people from Kabul within 24 hours as of 3 a.m. this morning, according to White House numbers released early Tuesday. 

Since August 14 58,700 people have been evacuated – but according to a Washington Post reporter, only 4,000 are Americans. 

Washington Post's Olivier Knox first tweeted that around 4,000 Americans have been evacuated since August 14

Washington Post's Olivier Knox first tweeted that around 4,000 Americans have been evacuated since August 14

Washington Post’s Olivier Knox first tweeted that around 4,000 Americans have been evacuated since August 14

Former President Trump joined in on the criticism of Biden's Afghanistan crisis

Former President Trump joined in on the criticism of Biden's Afghanistan crisis

Former President Trump joined in on the criticism of Biden’s Afghanistan crisis

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Biden on Tuesday afternoon, referencing the figure and accusing Biden of having ‘surrendered Afghanistan to terrorists and left thousands of Americans for dead by pulling out the Military before our citizens.’

‘You can be sure the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights. Instead, we can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world,’ Trump wrote.

‘What a terrible failure. NO VETTING. How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to America? We don’t know!’

Meanwhile the Taliban released political prisoners across the country, with 220 inmates freed in Kandahar province on Tuesday. 

The group also is now in control of billions of dollars of US military technology that was in the Afghan government’s possession, which could include more than 150 aircraft.

The US gave the Afghan military roughly $28 billion in weapons technology between 2002 and 2017.

An inspector general’s report from 2020 states the US gave more than 7,000 machine guns and nearly 1,400 grenade launchers to Afghanistan from 2017 to 2019, among other weapons.

The Taliban announced Tuesday that Afghan citizens will no longer be permitted through Kabul airport

The Taliban announced Tuesday that Afghan citizens will no longer be permitted through Kabul airport

The Taliban announced Tuesday that Afghan citizens will no longer be permitted through Kabul airport

The Taliban released political prisoners over the last week, including these former inmates who are seen leaving a prison in Kandahar on August 24

The Taliban released political prisoners over the last week, including these former inmates who are seen leaving a prison in Kandahar on August 24

The Taliban released political prisoners over the last week, including these former inmates who are seen leaving a prison in Kandahar on August 24

Waltz was outraged at the Taliban’s military acquisition on Tuesday.

‘The Taliban are going to be armed to the teeth, so when future American soldiers have to go back to deal with the problem…how many are going to die now, because they’re going to have to fight their way through our own equipment – our own damn equipment!’

‘This is a terrorist organization, the Taliban, and they now have control of a country because of President Biden’s failed policy,’ House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said at the event.

He said the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan would mean a heightened risk of terrorists coming to the US by crossing the southern border.

‘We want President Biden’s focus on rescuing every American who he left behind enemy lines, and to give us an accounting of who they are,’ Scalise said.  

The Associated Press reported last week that up to 15,000 US nationals could still be in Afghanistan. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also joined in bashing Biden over his decision to maintain the August 31 deadline. 

‘The president needs to forget about the August 31st deadline. We need to send enough American personnel, military personnel to rescue our people, and by the way, there are more American soldiers there now than before the president made the decision to leave. 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,’ he said on Fox News.

‘Having made that decision, you’d have to conclude these guys couldn’t organize a two-car funeral.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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