The Taliban is remaining steadfast on the Aug. 31 withdrawal and announced they will not allow Afghans to leave the country during a Tuesday press conference.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid spoke to reporters Tuesday about the U.S. withdrawal deadline of Aug. 31. Despite the evacuation process ramping up, many more people still need to be evacuated, and President Joe Biden has said he’s contemplating on extending the deadline. The Taliban, however, has vowed not to let that happen.
“This was already not according to the agreement,” Mujahid said Tuesday regarding the latest deadline. “They have opportunity, they [US] have all the resources, they can take all the people that belong to them.”
The spokesman also said the Taliban will no longer allow Afghans to leave. The U.S. has so far evacuated thousands of Afghans, with a particular focus on the special immigrant visa applicants.
“We are not going to allow Afghans to leave and we will not extend the deadline. We will be deciding about this there and then,” Mujahid said.
“We are not in favour of allowing Afghans to leave”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid adds it would be a “violation” of the agreement to allow evacuations of foreign nationals beyond 31 August
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 24, 2021
Mujahid also pushed against the U.S. urging Afghans to evacuate, asking them not to issues such encouragements. He said Afghan nationals should go back home and claimed females won’t be barred from work permanently.
“We are asking the Americans: Change your policy and please don’t encourage Afghans to leave,” the spokesman said through a translator. “Don’t encourage our engineers, our doctors, our military. We need them. We need their talent. Do not take them out to foreign countries.”
“The way to the airport has been closed now. Afghans are not allowed to go there now. Foreigners are allowed to go, but we have stopped Afghans nationals to go because the crowd is more. There is danger that people will lose their lives,” he continued.
Mujahid accused the Americans of shooting “at people” at the crowds of people at the airport. He said the Taliban wants people “to be safe from this.” However, media reports suggest the Taliban has beaten crowds and fired weapons into the air amid the chaotic situation near the Kabul airport.
On Monday, the Taliban again declared they do not want the U.S. extending the withdrawal deadline, although it seems necessary in order to successfully evacuate everyone from the country. During that interview with Sky News, Taliban spokesperson Dr. Suhail Shaheen called the extension “a red line.”
“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences. It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction,” he added. (RELATED: Impossible To Fact Check ‘In Real Time’: Misleading Biden Presser Diverges From Reality On The Ground)
Reports suggest Biden will announce a decision Tuesday on whether the U.S. will be extending the deadline. The Pentagon gave the president this deadline because members of the military overseeing the evacuation at the airport still need time to leave the country, too.