Extension to Afghanistan evacuation deadline ‘unlikely’, defence secretary admits

2021-08-24 12:31:40

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has admitted an extension to the August 31 evacuation deadline in Afghanistan is “unlikely”.

His feedback come as Boris Johnson — alongside G7 allies — prepares to foyer the US president Joe Biden to grant an extra few days to evacuate determined residents and Afghans granted visas from the clutches of the Taliban insurgency.

Nevertheless, Mr Wallace performed down the prospect of an extension on Tuesday, pointing to statements from each the US administration and the warning from a Taliban spokesperson of the “penalties” if overseas powers tried to retain a army presence within the area past the “purple line” deadline of 31 August.

“I believe it’s unlikely,” the defence secretary informed Sky Information forward of the G7 assembly.

“Not solely due to what the Taliban has stated however when you have a look at the general public statements of president Biden, I believe it’s unlikely. However it’s positively price us making an attempt, and we’ll.”

The defence secretary additionally issued a frank warning that the safety danger across the airport may improve and “will get increasingly more harmful” because the deadline approaches, with terrorist teams probably making an attempt to use the delicate scenario.

He stated: “Terrorist teams equivalent to Isis want to be seen to take higher credit score, or prefer to be seen to chase the West out of the airport — that’s inevitably going to feed their narrative and ambitions.

“The Taliban are literally controlling the outer ring of the airport and certainly checkpoints all through Kabul and that makes it more durable for Isis terrorists. The Taliban and Isis don’t have any pleasant relationship in any respect, however we’re very aware that we’re very, very weak ought to these terrorists select to do one thing.”

Mr Wallace, who reiterated that “not everybody” will be capable to get in a foreign country, added that within the final 24-hour interval, revealed that over 2,000 folks had been evacuated from Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport, with the full now exceeding 8,000.

In social media posts forward of the G7 leaders’ assembly, the prime minister stated he’ll ask “our associates and allies to face by the Afghan folks and step up assist for refugees and humanitarian support”.

“We are going to proceed to make use of each humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and the positive aspects made in Afghanistan over the past 20 years,” he stated. “The Taliban will likely be judged by their deeds and never their phrases”

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