G7 Leaders to Pressure Biden on Extending Kabul Evacuation Deadline

US President Joe Biden is likely to come under pressure Tuesday from G7 leaders to extend the August 31 deadline for evacuating US citizens, Western nationals and Afghans trying to flee the country in the wake of the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamist Taliban. Biden will participate on Tuesday in a virtual meeting with Group of Seven leaders as evacuation efforts continue at the airport in Kabul. During the meeting, the leaders of the G7 countries – the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada – are expected to discuss the evacuation effort as well as the longer-term future for Afghanistan. The emergency meeting was called, according to meeting chair Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, “to coordinate our response to the immediate crisis, to reaffirm our commitment to the Afghan people, and to ask our international partners to match the UK’s commitments to support those in need.” It is unlikely that most countries would leave their forces in Kabul once the US has completely withdrawn, which could lead to some foreign nationals being left behind if the deadline is not extended, according to reports. Biden said in an address to the nation on Sunday afternoon that US troops might stay past the target date of August 31 to withdraw all foreign forces in order to oversee a “hard and painful” evacuation. The Taliban responded Monday, saying they would not agree to an extension of the evacuation mission and calling it a “red line.”

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