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Boris Johnson pleads with Taliban over withdrawal deadline

Humiliated Boris Johnson pleads with Taliban to continue to let people out of Afghanistan AFTER August 31 after Joe Biden snubbed pleas to extend deadline for withdrawal

  • Boris Johnson urged Joe Biden to extend Afghanistan withdrawal beyond Aug 31
  • But the US President is expected to stick to his deadline for the exit of US troops
  • Mr Johnson said UK will continue to conduct airlifts ‘right up until last moment’


Boris Johnson today pleaded with the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after the US has completed its withdrawal on August 31.  

Mr Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 summit to urge Joe Biden to extend the deadline to provide more time for airlifts from Kabul airport to take place. 

But the entreaties appear to have fallen on deaf ears with the President expected to stick to his exit date for US forces. 

A humiliated Mr Johnson said after the summit that the UK will continue to conduct airlifts from the country ‘right up until the last moment’ as he called on the Taliban to guarantee ‘safe passage’ for anyone who wants to leave after August 31. 

Boris Johnson today pleaded with the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after the US has completed its withdrawal on August 31

Mr Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 summit to urge Joe Biden to extend the deadline to provide more time for airlifts from Kabul airport to take place

Mr Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 summit to urge Joe Biden to extend the deadline to provide more time for airlifts from Kabul airport to take place

The Taliban today repeated blood-curdling warnings of consequences if there was an attempt to extend the deadline as the group said no-one would be permitted to leave. 

‘All people should be removed prior to that date,’ a spokesman told a press conference in the capital. ‘After that we do not allow them. We will take a different stance.’

According to Reuters, the Pentagon told Mr Biden the risks to American forces are too high if they defy the Taliban. 

White House sources said Mr Biden had agreed with the Pentagon that there would be no change to the timeline of the mission.   

It means troops will have to abandon the humanitarian operation and start focusing on their own exit plan as soon as tomorrow. 

Mr Johnson said the UK’s own emergency airlifts would continue for as long as possible. 

He said: ‘This is an extraordinary airlift, we have evacuated 9,000, the UK alone has taken 9,000 people out of Kabul, I think 57 flights.

‘A huge, huge effort by our military and we will go on right up until the last moment that we can.

‘But you have heard what the President of the United States has had to say, you have heard what the Taliban have said.’

The PM said the situation at Kabul airport is ‘not getting any better’ with ongoing ‘public order issues’. 

He said the G7 had agreed a ‘number one condition’ that the Taliban must stick to in the coming weeks. 

‘What we have done today at the G7 is we have got together the leading Western powers and agreed not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation but also a roadmap for the way in which we are going to engage with the Taliban, this probably will be a Taliban government in Kabul,’ he said. 

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes 

‘And the number one condition we are setting as G7 is that they have got to guarantee right the way through August 31 and beyond safe passage for those who want to come out.’

Mr Johnson also insisted the G7 nations have ‘huge leverage’ over the Taliban because of the threat of sanctions as he said funding for the country would only be made available in the future if it meets the West’s expectations.   

He said: ‘The G7 has huge leverage and today the G7 agreed, we brought them together, and they agreed a roadmap for future engagement with the Taliban.

‘If those huge funds are going to be unfrozen eventually for use by the government and people of Afghanistan then what we are saying is Afghanistan can’t lurch back into becoming a breeding ground of terror, Afghanistan can’t become a narco state.’

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