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Taliban: We Won't Allow Afghans to Leave

Biden is expected to stick with the deadline of Aug. 31 rather than extend it
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2021 12:50 PM CDT
Taliban: We Won't Allow Afghans to Leave
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks at at his first news conference, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mujahid said Tuesday at a press conference in Kabul, that the U.S. must complete its evacuation of people from Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 date.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

(Newser) – The deadline for the US to be out of Afghanistan is a week away, and President Biden is unlikely to extend it. The president spoke to G7 leaders Tuesday and will make public remarks later in the day, but the Pentagon has recommended sticking to the Aug. 31 withdrawal date to minimize risk of an ISIS-K attack, USA Today reports. Biden has agreed to abide by that recommendation, reports Politico, citing anonymous insiders. Meanwhile, the Taliban said Tuesday that it will no longer allow Afghans to leave the country:

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  • Road closed: "The road that ends at the Kabul airport has been blocked," said a Taliban spokesman, per the New York Times. "Foreigners can go through it, but Afghans are not allowed to take the road,” said Zabihullah Mujahid. Biden has promised to evacuate every Afghan who wants to leave, but it’s unclear when or how that will happen. Mujahid said Afghanistan needs to prevent a brain drain, and its citizens should stay and rebuild. “This country needs our doctors, engineers and those who are educated—we need these talents."

  • Broken promises? The Taliban has promised there will be no retaliation for Afghans trying to leave, and the rights of women will be protected. But UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told CNN there had been credible reports of reprisals, including civilian executions and restrictions placed on women.
  • Pace increases: Evacuations have been moving even more quickly recently, though. The road to the airport is dangerous—at least seven people including a toddler have died—but flights continue, and 58,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14 when Kabul fell. About 21,600 were flown out in the last 24 hours.
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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