Taliban says no evacuation extension as G7 meets on Afghanistan crisis

The USA should withdraw all troops and contractors by the existing August 31 deadline, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday.

Afghanistan citizens will not be allowed to leave the country via the ongoing U.S. evacuation process after the deadline, he told reporters.

European nations have said they would not be able to airlift at-risk Afghans before the August 31 cut-off, and United States President Joe Biden has faced calls from all corners to extend the evacuation window.

“They have planes, they have the airport, they should get their citizens and contractors out of here,” said Mujahid.

As he spoke, Western troops were working to get foreigners and Afghans onto planes and out of the country.

The spokesperson said the crowds of Afghans thronging Kabul airport seeking a flight out of the country could go home. “We guarantee their security,” he said, adding that there was no list of people targeted for reprisals. “We have forgotten everything in the past.”

Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, security has returned to the war-torn Afghanistan and all big cities including the capital city Kabul have remained peaceful. The spokesperson said media outlets are working and the freedom of the media is improving every day. He said the Taliban are trying to come up with a procedure so women can return to work.

Panjshir is the only one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces that remains out of the Taliban’s control.

Mujahid said the Taliban want to resolve the Panjshir situation through dialogue. He said they have been endeavoring to settle the standoff with Panjshir’s anti-Taliban forces through talks.

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The spokesperson also said the Taliban don’t want foreign embassies to close or stop work and they have assured them of security.

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 Afghanistan situation.

(With input from agencies)

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