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U.S. scrambles to complete Afghanistan pullout as threat of attacks rises

WorldAug 24, 2021 10:22PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. A family walks towards a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021. Picture taken August 22, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/Handout via REUTERS 2/3

(Reuters) -President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States is on pace to finish evacuations from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, but left open the chance of extending the deadline, saying reaching that goal depends on cooperation from the country's new Taliban rulers.

The Taliban said earlier on Tuesday that all foreign evacuations from the country must be completed by Aug. 31, and asked Washington to stop urging highly skilled Afghans to leave the country.

In remarks at the White House, Biden said the United States was racing to meet that deadline https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/what-happens-after-bidens-evacuation-force-leaves-afghanistan-2021-08-24 as concerns mount over the threat of militant attacks.

"The sooner we can finish, the better," Biden said. "Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops."

Continued coordination with the Taliban remains crucial to meeting the deadline, he said, but he called it a "tenuous situation" with a "serious risk of breaking down as time goes on."

Biden said he asked the Pentagon and the State Department to develop contingency plans to push past the deadline should that prove necessary.

The Democratic president, whose administration has been under fire for its handling of the pullout, said U.S. forces had now helped evacuate 70,700 people since Aug. 14.

Biden said his administration was working to rebuild a system for processing refugees that he said was "purposely destroyed" by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.

"We must all work together to resettle thousands of Afghans who ultimately qualify for refugee status. The United States will do our part," he said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was growing concern about the risk of suicide bombings by Islamic State at the airport, which has been overwhelmed by Afghans and foreign citizens rushing to leave.

One U.S. official said it was no longer a question of if, but when, militants would attack and the priority was to get out before it happened.

The hardline Islamist 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.

"We guarantee their security," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in the capital, which Taliban fighters seized on Aug. 15 from the Western-backed government after most foreign forces withdrew following two decades of war.

The Pentagon said several hundred U.S. troops had departed Kabul under a previously scheduled move but it would not affect evacuation efforts.

Some Democrats in the U.S. Congress argued the evacuations must be completed regardless of the target date.

"To me, the mission of evacuating personnel takes priority over deadlines," said Representative Jake Auchincloss, a former Marine who commanded infantry in Afghanistan.

G7 COMMITMENT TO AFGHANISTAN

Leaders of the G7 major industrialized nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - met virtually to discuss how to complete the chaotic withdrawal and deal with the Taliban now that they have seized power.

The G7 leaders said they would remain committed to Afghanistan and back the United Nations in coordinating immediate humanitarian help in the region, which faces a new influx of refugees.

The talks did not result "in new dates" for the end of the evacuation mission, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, although there were intensive discussions on whether a civilian-operated airport in Kabul could be used after Aug. 31.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the top condition of the G7 agreement was that militants must allow safe passage to Afghans wanting to leave the country even after the Aug. 31 deadline.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin was interested in serving as a middleman in resolving the crisis along with China, the United States and Pakistan.

The executive director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, said the politics needed to be decided fast because the combination of conflict, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic meant 14 million Afghans could soon face starvation.

The Afghan government collapsed as the United States and its allies withdrew troops two decades after they ousted the Taliban in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants, whose leaders had found safe haven in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Leaders of the Taliban, who have sought to show https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-seek-present-moderate-face-they-take-control-afghanistan-2021-08-15 a more moderate face since capturing Kabul, have begun talks on forming a government that have included discussions with some old enemies, including former President Hamid Karzai.

The Taliban appointed a former Guantanamo detainee, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, as acting defence minister, the Qatari-based Al Jazeera news channel said, citing a Taliban source. Some former Afghan government officials say they have been ordered back to work https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/dont-panic-get-back-work-taliban-order-former-officials-2021-08-24.

Many Afghans fear reprisals and a return to a harsh version of sharia (Islamic law) that the Taliban enforced when in power from 1996 to 2001, in particular the repression of women.

Mujahid said there was no list of people targeted for reprisals and the group was trying to come up with a procedure so women could return to work.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the United Nations would be watching closely.

"A fundamental red line will be the Taliban's treatment of women and girls," she told an emergency session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Five members of an all-girl Afghan robotics team, who have been heralded for winning international awards, arrived in Mexico https://www.reuters.com/world/afghan-all-girl-robotics-team-members-land-mexico-2021-08-25/#:~:text=%22We%20give%20you%20the%20warmest,conference%20at%20Mexico%20City's%20airport on Tuesday after fleeing an uncertain future at home.

U.S. scrambles to complete Afghanistan pullout as threat of attacks rises
 

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Comments (26)
bret lafrance
bret lafrance Aug 25, 2021 8:49AM ET
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Taliban will likely try to hold the remainder hostage, got to get them out.
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 10:21PM ET
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Brain fog Biden is not in charge.  They hold his hand to get him to the podium.  90% of admin is Obama redo's.  Proven failures back at it.  Remember, Biden/Kameltola got 83M votes!
James Pattison
James Pattison Aug 24, 2021 8:00PM ET
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Any american who dies there is on you Joe… if you were competant… i still dont thinknyoud actuall care
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone Aug 24, 2021 6:06PM ET
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Not sure if America will survive 3.5 more years under Biden / Kam Kam. Impeach them NOW. I'm sure at least some Democrats will be forced to vote for Impeachment per constituent pressure.
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 6:06PM ET
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Yea but then it is Nancy Poolosi.  2022 only hope now.  Better prep
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell Aug 24, 2021 6:06PM ET
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Impeach the Pres/VP And PelosiHold special election. Trump 2022!
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell Aug 24, 2021 5:53PM ET
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Use Drones and be surgical
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 24, 2021 4:11PM ET
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Hold gold ...forget the rhetoric and the charts.. it's now only a question of when
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 24, 2021 4:10PM ET
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Joe is MIA.  TRUMP was right about EVERYTHING
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 24, 2021 3:38PM ET
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I blame left wing media for most of the usa decline due to their constant manipulation of the truth. " They are the traitors"!
peter neal
peter neal Aug 24, 2021 3:31PM ET
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This is just the beginning. They want to destroy the United States and so they will try. No border control. Riots and murders in the he cities. Biden has advanced Dementia and he is running the show. Biden needs to be out this week.
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 3:13PM ET
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G7 members should have known. This is Obama admin 3.0, fact, and 2.0 created the Isis wave of terror. They want US to lead, but our leaders want this
Michael Paulsen
Michael Paulsen Aug 24, 2021 2:26PM ET
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Joe is taking a knee, afraid of the taliban.
Rod Quasney
Rod Quasney Aug 24, 2021 2:21PM ET
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Like Trump, hate Trump or in between, if you somehow believe this would have transpired with him in office you're as challenged as the situation Biden has placed us in. Special forces will and must be used ahead the deadline. Pretty convenient really as alot of their assets are concentrated and above ground.
ZS Beck
ZS Beck Aug 24, 2021 2:16PM ET
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It’s all planned, the past 2 years terrorists are diapered from the news.The military complex needs to justify spending. It will be no time when all the ****news is coming back.Simple is that. A peaceful Afghanistan is a bad business.
Millennial Metals
Millennial Metals Aug 24, 2021 1:50PM ET
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The USA is a weak nation in decline
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 24, 2021 1:50PM ET
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where are you located
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 1:50PM ET
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Your generation is not helping anything for sure, the generation brain washed by poor educators and communist media.
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 24, 2021 1:48PM ET
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Joe Blow just announced no extension to August 31 deadline
Rad Chad
FeeFiFoFum Aug 24, 2021 12:21PM ET
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I love how the Taliban are dictating terms to the US.  Good job Joe
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 12:21PM ET
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Time for another party at the Hastings Obama estates. Woo hoo, hippity hopping road to hades
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 12:21PM ET
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* HAMPTONS. Why spell ✔️ changes that, no idea
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 24, 2021 12:21PM ET
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Green Mango Martha's Vinyard
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 24, 2021 11:31AM ET
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The Democrats have put Biden between a rock and a hard place. They're finished with him now just like black lives matter and antifa and they want to get rid of him.  And in concert the mainstream media is turning on him to seal the deal.  It's not hard to see what they're doing..
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 10:45AM ET
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Just one time we should level the place and take the minerals we need anyway.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Aug 24, 2021 10:43AM ET
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But but but Taliban is friendly! It has changed! It needs investments!
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 24, 2021 10:43AM ET
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They will escort you to the Airport if you just show them your US passport or ID!  No harm will come to you
jason xx
jason xx Aug 24, 2021 10:37AM ET
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Dunkirk 2021 what an embarrassment
Necleus Electron
Necleus Electron Aug 24, 2021 6:58AM ET
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In the first place, the western nations ruin and destroy a country 20yrs ago just in the name sake of terrorism.
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 6:58AM ET
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Destroy a country??? Wow, do you also have any beach front property in Detroit?
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Typical left wing military strategy, i have seen this movie before beginning with Black Hawk Down.
jason xx
jason xx Aug 24, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Trump signed the withdrawal order genius
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 6:53AM ET
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jason xx You missed the point Einstein, your president miserably failed on evacuation execution.
Walt Bishop
Walt Bishop Aug 24, 2021 6:53AM ET
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{{uid:228059191} ****much?
Louis Lipps
Louis Lipps Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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Always have to bring it back to Trump.  Trump would have never let it go down like this.  Ever.  Get civilians out first.  Destroy anything you don't want Taliban to have, then leave.  Not let's have military leave first in middle of the night without telling anyone including allies.  Embarrassing.  Media worst of them all.
Show previous replies (3)
Alex Sev
Alex Sev Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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"China's U.N. envoy said the U.S. army and its partners should be held accountable for rights violations" what a joke China spaks up on "rights violations"...
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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Steffen vdm You believe the hype huh, deep state is crooked on both sides. Democrats are the main voters that dont see the gov corruption. I believe because they drink every drop the media gives them like drunken sailors. Im a sailor so i can say this
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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Alex Sev Communism and human rights in the same sentence. Lol
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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The Democrats have put Biden between a rock and a hard place. They're finished with him now just like black lives matter and antifa and they want to get rid of him.  And in concert the mainstream media is turning on him to seal the deal.  It's not hard to see what they're doing
Adrian White
Adrian White Aug 24, 2021 6:51AM ET
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Are you kidding? Trump couldn't even point to Afghanistan on a map.
jason xx
jason xx Aug 24, 2021 5:44AM ET
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Dunkirk 2021
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 24, 2021 5:44AM ET
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Actually this movie will round out a great movie pack for Democrats for the holidays. Featuring Black Hawk Down, Benghazi, and Kabul the Movie.
Thanos theBear
Thanos theBear Aug 24, 2021 5:44AM ET
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AMC will moon hard then!
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Aug 24, 2021 3:43AM ET
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To Taliban or not is the question. Taliban will be closely controlled by at least 10 major countries such as Russia, China, USA, UK, India, Iran, Germany, France, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, ...
 
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