Biden maintains deadline, accelerates withdrawal from Kabul after Taliban threats – 24/08/21 – World

Pressed by the allies to extend the time limit for evacuating Westerners and allies from Kabul, US President Joe Biden has decided to maintain the limit on the presence of US forces in Afghanistan on August 31.

The decision was disclosed by the White House to Reuters as the American prepared to discuss the situation at a virtual meeting of the G7 on Tuesday (24), the club of the world’s most developed economies.

The resumption of threats from the Taliban, who took over power following Biden’s decision to abide by the peace agreement with the group and withdraw his troops from Afghanistan after 20 years, weighed on the bill.

During a press conference, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group would not agree to the extension. Neither he nor the United States commented, but news agencies reported a meeting Monday (23) between CIA director William Burns and top Taliban leader in Kabul Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Mujahid reiterated the group’s threatening tone the day before and added that the United States should stop helping “qualified Afghans” to leave the country. More than that, he said the group would block civilians from accessing the airport.

The dialogue with the Americans, expected after two decades of war, seems insoluble. Mujahid again vowed that those gathered near Kabul airport would not face retaliation on their way home. “We guarantee your safety,” he said.

The Taliban captured the capital last Sunday (15th), after having conquered almost the entire country in two weeks.

The exit was ordered by President Joe Biden in April, ending 20 years of America’s longest war, launched to punish the Taliban, who have ruled Afghanistan since 1996 and harbor the Al Qaeda terrorists who perpetrated the attacks of September 11.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the meeting because he wanted more time to step down. He had the support of Germany. But as early as Tuesday morning, his Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace threw in the towel and said a change was unlikely.

As all of this unfolded, Western forces were accelerating their retreat towards Kabul. According to the Pentagon, 21,600 people were evacuated from Monday to Tuesday morning, including 8,900 on planes from allied countries.

With the threat of the Taliban, however, it seems increasingly unlikely that civilians who worked for the West or opponents of the group could all leave Afghanistan.

Kabul airport and its surroundings are the scene of a humanitarian crisis, with 15,000 people in a trance around it, waiting for the opportunity to participate in the chaotic evacuation.

At least 21 people have died, been shot, trampled or even fallen from the landing gear of an aircraft taking off. It’s an image disaster that Biden never expected and will have a hard time getting around.

Also on Tuesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday accused the Taliban of a series of violations in the region, such as summary executions and harassment of opponents and women.

The former Chilean president, however, presented no evidence or evidence, but cited “credible reports” in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to news agencies.

At this point in the crisis in Afghanistan, a little over a week after the fall of the government and the return to power of the fundamentalist Islamic group, it wouldn’t be much different.

The country still has a small pocket of Taliban resistance in the Panjshir Valley, and Kabul is overwhelmed by airport chaos.

As several media outlets, including Folha, have reported over the days, there is a climate of terror among potential Taliban targets in the capital and other parts of the country, despite known promises from the general amnesty group. .

A journalist who is still hiding with his family on the outskirts of the city told, via e-mail, the same story told by Bachelet in Switzerland: the Taliban are conducting house-to-house searches to find people who have collaborated with Westerners, including translators, and also some members of the former government.

Obviously, the Chilean underlined the risk to women, the main victims of the group’s brutal regime in the 1990s, due to its strict and deviant reading of the Koran and a literal application of Sharia, Islamic law.

“There are serious concerns for women, journalists and the new generation of civil society leaders,” she said. The assembly also heard from Nasir Ahmad Andisha, ambassador of the ousted government to international organizations in Geneva, who reiterated his fears.

Ahead of US opponents of the crisis, China said on Tuesday that the unrest in Kabul was the responsibility of the US military. And President Vladimir Putin said he would never employ Russian troops in the country because he “learned a lesson” from ten years of failed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89).

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