US on Afghanistan withdrawal deadline: Only Biden decides

‘Ultimately, it will be the president’s determination how this proceeds; nobody else’s,’ high US official says.

Only President Joe Biden decides when Unites States troops will depart Afghanistan, his high nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned, after the Taliban threatened the White House with “consequences” if American forces stay within the nation past August 31.

“Ultimately, it will be the president’s decision how this proceeds; no one else’s,” Jake Sullivan mentioned on Monday at a information briefing.

He confirmed that the US is “engaging” and “consulting” with the Taliban on “every aspect of what’s happening in Kabul right now”.

The Taliban captured Kabul earlier this month amid Biden’s determination to drag troops in a foreign country after a 20-year conflict.

American forces stay answerable for Hamid Karzai International Airport, the place the Pentagon has deployed hundreds of troops to evacuate American residents and Afghans who labored with the US through the battle.

Biden had set August 31 because the deadline for all US troops to go away the nation however mentioned US forces would keep till all American residents are evacuated, even when it means staying past the tip of the month.

“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” mentioned Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban delegation in Doha, instructed Sky News earlier on Monday.

For his half, Sullivan mentioned the operation on the airport is making “substantial progress” with 37,000 individuals evacuated since August 14.

“We have established a community of transit facilities in a number of international locations within the Gulf and Europe, the place we’re getting US residents on flights home, and we’re working biometric and biographic background checks on Afghan evacuees earlier than bringing them to the United States or having them relocated to a 3rd nation.

“All told, 26 countries on four continents are contributing to this effort, one of the largest airlifts in history – a massive military, diplomatic, security, humanitarian undertaking.”

Still, the airport has been a scene of lethal chaos and desperation with hundreds ready in dire situations.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki mentioned the president stands by his determination to withdraw US troops from the nation, lauding the evacuations.

“His focus right now is on taking the steps and making the decisions that he feels are in the interest of our national security and the American people,” she mentioned of Biden.

“And that may mean that there are chaotic scenes; that may mean that there are people disapproving of his decisions. He understands that and accepts that.”

Later on Monday, the State Department clarified that the US is speaking with the Taliban with the slim focus of securing the evacuations, to not recognise a authorities led by the group.

“This is not about asking permission; this is not about establishing any sort of formal relations,” Ned Price, the State Department’s spokesperson, mentioned. “This is about doing all we can to facilitate safe passage to ensure that the Taliban know that any effort to impede the evacuation of American citizens, to impede our operations … would be met with a very swift and severe response.”

He added that the United States shouldn’t be concerned in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities.

Price mentioned the US is “in discussion” with the Taliban over sustaining a functioning industrial airport in Kabul after the American troops withdraw.

Price mentioned a Taliban-led authorities should have an airport that may enable individuals to go away the nation if it needs to have ties with the remainder of the world.

“A government that has some semblance of a relationship with the rest of the world needs a functioning commercial airport,” Price mentioned.

“We are in discussions with the Taliban on this very front. They have indicated to us in no uncertain terms that they seek to have a functioning commercial airport.”

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