President Joe Biden has reportedly decided not to extend the evacuation deadline in Afghanistan past August 31 – despite pleas from allies.
Biden’s apparent decision comes as the Taliban warned it would not allow for the deadline for US troops leaving to be moved.
Biden agreed with the Pentagon not to modify the timeline of the evacuation mission, White House sources said, according to the Daily Mail.
The Pentagon told Biden that the risks of defying the Taliban were too high, Reuters reported.
Keeping the August 31 deadline means that US troops will have to begin shifting from the humanitarian effort to preparing their own escape from Afghanistan as soon as Wednesday.
Biden faced pressure from US allies to extend his original deadline for pulling out of Afghanistan.
He met virtually with leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) on Tuesday morning on evacuating citizens, Afghan nationals and policy and humanitarian assistance in the country collapsed to the Taliban.
The US military had advised Biden that he had to decide by Tuesday if he was going to extend the evacuation effort past the deadline, a defense official with knowledge on the talks told CNN.
Biden as of Tuesday morning reportedly had not made a decision on the matter.
Biden’s message came after a Taliban spokesman said there would be no extensions on the withdrawal date.
‘August 31 is the time given and after that it’s something that is against the agreement.
All people should be removed prior to that date,’ the Taliban spokesman said during a news conference in Kabul. ‘After that we do not allow them, it will not be allowed in our country, we will take a different stance.’
The Taliban gained control of the country last week as the US carried out Biden’s plan to begin fully withdrawing US troops.
The group had previously conveyed that foreign forces staying past the deadline would cross a ‘red line’ and ‘provoke a reaction’.
Since August 14, the US has evacuated about 58,700 Americans, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and other Afghans from the airport in Kabul.
From Monday to Tuesday morning, the US evacuated a record 12,700 people, a White House official told CNN. In addition, 8,000 people were airlifted on 57 coalition flights.