Biden won’t extend Afghanistan deadline as Taliban reiterates demand for U.S. forces to leave
The development comes shortly after a Taliban spokesperson – following a meeting between leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns in Kabul – said there will be “no extensions” to the Biden administration’s Aug. 31 date.
Defense Dept. Press Secretary John Kirby said Tuesday that the White House is still “aiming toward the end of the month” for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“We continue to make progress every day in getting Americans – as well as Special Immigrant Visa applicants and vulnerable Afghans – out,” he said. “We remain committed to getting any and all Americans that want to leave, to get them out. We still believe – certainly now that we have been able to increase the capacity and the flow – we believe that we have the ability to get that done by the end of the month.”
The Pentagon also said the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will go to “zero” at the Aug. 31 deadline.
In addition to the 6,000 U.S. troops at Kabul’s airport, there are dozens of armored vehicles and U.S. Army Apache gunships.
Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group will accept “no extensions” of the Aug. 31 deadline, the Associated Press reports.