G7 meets discuss the Taliban deadline as the Afghan evacuation is moving at a ‘war-footing’ pace

G7 meets
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On Tuesday, Western countries worked at a “war-footing pace” to bring people out of Afghanistan, according to a NATO country envoy, as US President Joe Biden faced pressure from other G7 leaders to extend the airlift.

Kabul’s airport has been gripped by widespread turmoil punctuated by periodic violence, with Western troops and Afghan security guards forcing back masses trying to flee since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital on Aug. 15.

According to a NATO diplomat, countries executing the evacuations are attempting to meet an Aug. 31 deadline agreed upon earlier with the Taliban for the removal of international forces. Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US will attend a virtual conference later on Tuesday to examine the issue.

Biden, who has suggested that US soldiers may stay until the deadline, has cautioned that the withdrawal will be “difficult and traumatic,” and that many things might still go wrong.

Following an intelligence briefing on Afghanistan, Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters that he did not believe the evacuation could be completed in the next eight days.

On Monday, a Taliban spokesperson stated that an extension would not be given, despite the fact that international forces had not requested one. Negotiations, according to Washington, are still ongoing. “I will ask our friends and allies to stick by the Afghan people and amp up support for refugees and humanitarian relief,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ahead of the G7 conference.

Ben Wallace, Britain’s defense secretary, told Sky News that he doubted there would be an extension “not only because of what the Taliban has said but also because of President Biden’s public pronouncements, I think it is improbable.”