US president asks for ‘contingency plans,’ but tells G7 leaders completion of mission relies on Taliban coordination.
WASHINGTON (AA) – President Joe Biden told close allies in the G7 that the US is “on pace” to finish its withdrawal from Afghanistan by his self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline, the White House said Tuesday.
Speaking with G7 leaders during a virtual meeting earlier in the day, Biden “conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“He also made clear that with each day of operations on the ground, we have added risk to our troops with increasing threats from ISIS-K, and that completion of the mission by August 31st depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport,” she said, referring to the Afghanistan affiliate of the Daesh/ISIS terror group.
“In addition, the President has asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plans to adjust the timeline should that become necessary,” added Psaki.
The US has been in close coordination with the Taliban to facilitate the evacuations of Americans and Afghans seeking refugee status. Afghanistan’s de facto rules have made clear that the Taliban are unwilling to accept any extension of the US mission beyond August.
The Pentagon said earlier Tuesday that in the past 24 hours, 12,700 people have been ferried out of Afghanistan on 37 military aircraft. An additional 8,900 departed on coalition and partner aircraft, it added.