Joe Biden has decided, after consulting with his national security team and dispatching the CIA director to Kabul, that he will stick to the deadline of the August, 31 to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, a senior administration official told CNN before the US president addresses the nation.
Biden made the decision after repeated threats from the Taliban guerrillas, who have refused to extend that deadline. Earlier, the president called for contingency plans in case the thousands of US citizens and Afghan civilians he plans to grant asylum could not be removed. Moments before, the Islamists had
said they will cut off access to the Kabul airport and prevent Afghan citizens from leaving.
This same Tuesday, Biden spoke for seven minutes at a meeting of the G-7, the great allied powers of the United States. The leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Commission, participated in that virtual meeting. the European Council, the United Nations and NATO. There, the US president updated his partners on his immediate plans.
The way in which he has executed the exit from Afghanistan and the increase in coronavirus infections have taken their toll on Biden, who has seen his internal popularity ratings sink to the lowest point in seven months of presidency. Just a 46% approve their management today, according to an Ipsos poll for Reuters. However, a considerable majority, over 60%, believe that retiring was the right thing to do.
Biden heredó de Donald Trump the commitment to withdraw completely from Afghanistan this year, although it extended the deadline from May to September. Since accelerating the withdrawal, the incumbent president has maintained that his decision has been the right one and has blamed the return of the Islamists to power on the Afghan government, which fled and left Kabul free.
The White House said Tuesday that 12,700 people were evacuated on 37 US military flights and an additional 8,900 on other flights by its allies during the previous 24 hours. The Pentagon has explained that it has increased the pace of flights from Kabul to one flight every 45 minutes.
For his part, CIA director William Burns was in Kabul on Monday to meet with the political leader of the Taliban guerrilla, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. This meeting took place in the middle of the evacuation operation for foreign citizens and Afghan refugees, which in principle expires on August 31 and which the Islamists refuse to extend. Neither the CIA nor the Joe Biden administration have disclosed the issue and possible agreements reached in those direct talks.
Informs David Alandete
EU: pressure the Taliban with cuts
Several G7 leaders who participated in the virtual meeting held this afternoon have expressed their “great concern” at the announcement by US President Joe Biden about the end of his country’s military presence at Kabul airport on the 31st and his refusal. to negotiate an extension with the Taliban leaders who have taken power in Afghanistan, as revealed by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who also participated in the session with the G7 leaders, said for her part that the EU will try to coordinate its operations with the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees and gave to understand that it could also try to pressure the Taliban through cuts in humanitarian aid to this country. “We must not underestimate our ability to apply pressure. Afghanistan is a very poor country, it has serious drought problems and is affected by the pandemic itself. Humanitarian aid will continue to exist but you can contact the people who have taken power in the country to make them understand that they have to respect vulnerable people, “he said in his appearance at the end of the meeting.
Regarding the relocation of Afghans who are arriving in Europe thanks to humanitarian visas, the president of the Commission assured that it will be the countries themselves that will take charge on voluntary terms. Von der Leyen y Michel They praised Spain’s decision to host a significant number of Afghans who had worked for the European institutions in Kabul and elsewhere in the country before the Taliban erupted.
Informs Enrique Serbeto
Germany: the operation enters another phase
Once Biden has reaffirmed himself in the end of the evacuation operation set for August 31, the German Chancellor wishes to continue removing people from Afghanistan by other means from that date. This has been communicated to the G7 partners and the general secretaries of NATO and the UN, with whom he has explored “the role that civil flights from Kabul could have in the evacuation as of September.” “We understand that after August 31 the evacuation operation enters another phase,” Merkel said after the videoconference, “the G7 is studying a possible roadmap and how to establish contact to discuss this all with one voice with the Taliban ».
Merkel has recognized the irreplaceable role of the US “Of course the leadership of the US is undeniable. Without them the evacuation that we have carried out so far would not have been possible, only Germany more than ml people,” she said, after acknowledging that “the security situation is getting worse at times.” “Our German planes continue to move people, but it is clear that each flight is more difficult,” he admitted, reiterating that the priority targets to evacuate are German citizens, Afghan workers who have collaborated with Germany in recent years and Afghans whose human rights are compromised under the Taliban regime. He also said that “our soldiers will continue to carry out this mission as long as there is a risk proportionate to the risk that these people run.”
Once some kind of communication is established with the Taliban, the G7 will try to make them see the importance of having civil airports in Afghanistan, which currently do not exist. “For example, so that medicines can reach the country,” Merkel pointed out, suggesting that civil flights with refugees can depart from those same airports.
Informs Rosalia Sanchez
France: “Three days left”
Emmanuel Macron shared with Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson the hope of a possible “postponement” of the definitive US military withdrawal from Kabul, in order to be able to prolong the repatriation tasks.
“If the US confirms its decision to withdraw from Kabul on August 31, France will suspend its evacuation operations next Thursday. We have three days left, “said Nicolas Roche, director of the Foreign Affairs Minister’s cabinet, addressing Jean Castex, in the presence of journalists, according to AFP (Agence France Press)
On August 15, France launched Operation APAGAN, devoted to the repatriation of French and Afghans close to France, for various reasons. The first seven flights of the operation carried a thousand men and women to France.
The French military planes take off from Kabul and land at the military premises of the Parisian airport of Roissy – Charles de Gaulle, where the first health, administrative and police checks are carried out, before starting the provisional or definitive installation of the repatriated French.
Informs Juan Pedro Quiñonero
United Kingdom: Johnson fails to convince Biden
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hopeful that the emergency meeting he convened as G7 chairman on Tuesday would be the ideal setting to convince US President Joe Biden to agree to postpone the evacuation of Afghanistan further. beyond the August 31 deadline. However, his attempts were unsuccessful. According to a senior official in his administration quoted by CNN, Biden decided, after consulting with the national security team, to stick to the August 31 deadline to withdraw troops from the Asian country. Concerns about security are growing, and some sources even speak of the risk of terrorist attacks outside the Kabul airport. The decision came after the Taliban warned that the date marked was a red line and that if it was not met there would be “consequences”.
Boris Johnson personally asked his US counterpart to delay the departure, and on his Twitter account stated that “it is vital that the international community work together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to ensure achievements. of the last twenty years. Following the meeting of G7 leaders, the premier said that the evacuations would continue “until the last moment” and that he hoped that the United Kingdom could remove thousands more people from Afghanistan before the deadline. “The situation at the airport is not improving, there are public order problems,” explained Johnson, who referred to the “heartbreaking scenes” of those trying to leave the country. “It is also difficult for our military,” he acknowledged. However, the prime minister asserted that the G7 agreed to launch a roadmap to negotiate with the Taliban that would allow a safe exit even after August 31.
Informs Ivannia Salazar