Kabul: The Taliban warned on Tuesday that they would not extend the August 31 deadline announced by the Biden administration for withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan and urged the US to evacuate all its nationals by the agreed date.
Addressing a press conference, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the US must complete its evacuation of people from Afghanistan by August 31, the date the Biden administration set for the withdrawal of all American troops.
Moreover, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group will accept no extensions to the deadline. He also said that life is returning to normal in the country but chaos at the airport remains a problem as many Afghans are desperate to flee the Taliban takeover of the country.
"We guarantee their security," Mujahid told a news conference in the capital, which Taliban fighters seized on Aug. 15 from the Western-backed government after two decades of war.
As he spoke, Western troops were working frantically to get more foreigners and Afghans onto planes and out of the country.
President Joe Biden, who said last week U.S. troops may stay past Aug. 31 to evacuate Americans, will stick to a Pentagon recommendation to remove the troops by that date as long as the Taliban enables the United States to complete its evacuations, three U.S. officials said.
Commenting on the reports of meeting between the Taliban and the director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mujahid said he's not aware of any such meeting. The spokesperson, however, did not deny that such a meeting took place.
Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was increasing concern about suicide bombings by Islamic State terrorists at the airport. One official said it was no longer a question of if, but when, terrorists would attack and the priority was to get out before it happened.
The Taliban told the thousands of Afghans crowding into the airport in the hope of boarding flights that they had nothing to fear and should go home.
Mujahid said the group had not agreed to an extension of the Aug. 31 deadline and called on the United States not to encourage Afghan people to leave their homeland. He also urged foreign embassies not to close or stop work.
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she had received credible reports of "summary executions" of civilians and Afghan security forces who had surrendered. The Taliban has said it will investigate such reports.