Ultimately, the decision of the president will be how this happens; Nobody else,” says a senior US official.
His top national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said only President Joe Biden would decide when US forces would leave Afghanistan, after the Taliban threatened the White House with “Fertilizer“If US forces remain in the country after August 31.
“Ultimately, the president’s decision will be how that happens; Jake Sullivan said Monday at a press briefing.
He emphasized that the United States was “engaged” and “consulting” with the Taliban on “every aspect of what is happening in Kabul now”.
The Taliban captured Kabul earlier this month amid Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from the country after a 20-year war.
US forces still control Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the Pentagon has deployed thousands of troops to evacuate American and Afghan citizens who worked with the United States during the conflict.
Biden had set August 31 as the deadline for all US forces to leave the country But he said US forces will remain until all US citizens are evacuated, even if that means staying past the end of the month.
If the US or the UK wants to seek more time to continue the evacuations – the answer is no. “Or there will be consequences,” Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban delegation in Doha told Sky News earlier on Monday.
Sullivan, for his part, said the operation at the airport was making “substantial progress” with 37,000 people evacuated since August 14.
“We have set up a network of transit centers in many countries in the Gulf and Europe, getting US citizens on flights home, and running biometric and CV background checks on Afghan evacuees prior to bringing them to the US or receiving transfer to a third country. .
“Finally, 26 countries from four continents are contributing to this effort, and it is one of the largest airlifts in history – a massive military, diplomatic, security and humanitarian mission.”
Still, the airport was a scene mortal chaos Despair with thousands waiting in miserable conditions.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president is standing by his decision To withdraw US forces from the country, praising the evacuations.
“His focus is now on taking the steps and making decisions that he feels are in the best interests of our national security and the American people,” she said of Biden.
This may mean that there are chaotic scenes; It may mean that there are people who do not agree with his decisions. He understands that and accepts that.”
Later on Monday, the State Department made it clear that the United States was communicating with the Taliban with a narrow focus on securing evacuations, not recognizing a government led by the group.
“This is not about asking for permission; it is not about having any kind of formal relationship,” said Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson. “This is about doing everything we can to facilitate safe passage to ensure that the Taliban know that any effort to disrupt the evacuation of American citizens, And obstruction of our operations … will be met with a very rapid and severe response.”
He added that the United States was not involved in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Price said the US was “in discussions” with the Taliban about maintaining a functioning commercial airport in Kabul after US forces withdrew.
Price said the Taliban-led government must have an airport that allows people to leave the country if it wants to establish relations with the rest of the world.
“A government that has a bit of a relationship with the rest of the world needs a functioning commercial airport,” Price said.
We are in discussions with the Taliban on this very front. They have made it clear to us in no uncertain terms that they are seeking to have a working commercial airport.”