December 8, 2021

Afghanistan news: Biden’s deadline for US withdrawal looms as Poland halts airlift evacuations from Kabul’s airport

WASHINGTON — Poland has ended its evacuations from Afghanistan, an official stated Wednesday, one of many first Western international locations to halt operations serving to individuals flee the Taliban takeover as a full American withdrawal looms.

President Joe Biden declared the day earlier than that he’s sticking to his Aug. 31 deadline for finishing the U.S. pullout, ramping up strain on the already dangerous airlift from Kabul to get out as many individuals as attainable within the coming days. European allies pressed for extra time however misplaced the argument, and as a sensible matter they could be pressured to finish their evacuations a few days earlier than the final American troops go away.

The Taliban wrested again management of Afghanistan practically 20 years after they had been ousted in a U.S.-led invasion following the 9/11 assaults. Their return to energy has pushed many Afghans to flee, fearing reprisal assaults from the fighters or a return to the brutal rule they imposed once they final ran the nation.

The Taliban have insisted the airlift should finish on Aug. 31. Any resolution by Biden to remain longer might reignite a battle between the hard-line Islamic group and American troops and different coalition forces who’re working the airlift at Kabul airport.

Marcin Przydacz, a Polish deputy international minister, stated {that a} group of individuals taken from Kabul who are actually in Uzbekistan was the final evacuated by Poland. He stated his nation made its resolution to not proceed operations after consulting with the U.S. and British officers.

“After a long analysis of reports on the security situation we cannot risk the lives of our diplomats and of our soldiers any longer,” Przydacz stated.

Quite a lot of troops will stay briefly to wrap up operations, Przydacz stated. Poland has used over a dozen planes to deliver tons of of evacuees to Warsaw. Some later traveled on to different international locations.

The Czech Republic declared its personal evacuation mission full final week.

Chaos on the Kabul airport has transfixed the world after the Taliban’s blitz throughout Afghanistan noticed it seize management of a nation that obtained tons of of billions of {dollars} in reconstruction support and safety assist because the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Afghans poured onto the tarmac final week, and a few clung to a U.S. army transport airplane as it took off, later plunging to their deaths. At the very least seven individuals died that day, and one other seven died Sunday in a panicked stampede. An Afghan safety drive member was killed Monday in a gunfight beneath unclear circumstances.

Hundreds have thronged the airport within the days since, and the U.S. has been speeding to evacuate as many individuals as it may possibly, counting on its Gulf Arab allies to quickly home Afghans and others fleeing. On Wednesday, a bunch of 51 individuals landed in Uganda, which turned the primary African nation to host evacuees.

European nations, together with American allies Germany and the UK, had pressed for an extended window to proceed evacuations previous the deadline subsequent week. CIA director William Burns even traveled to Kabul on Monday to satisfy the Taliban’s prime political chief. Nonetheless, Biden has caught to the August date, even after an emergency on-line summit of the Group of Seven nations.

WATCH: Biden says 11,000 flown from Afghanistan over weekend

“That the overall deployment literally stands and falls with the stance of the militarily strongest member of the alliance, the U.S., was always clear to us,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated in a speech to parliament.

“We will continue the evacuation operation for as long as possible, in order also to make it possible for Afghans who worked with us for security, freedom, the rule of law and development to leave the country,” she added.

She didn’t give a date for when the final German evacuation flight would go away however stated that even after that effort ended, the nation would work to see “how we can then create ways in which we can continue to protect those who helped us, among other things through civilian use of Kabul Airport.”

VIDEO: Marines pull child over barbed-wire wall at Kabul airport amid chaotic evacuations

For now, the U.S. army coordinates all air visitors out and in of the Kabul airport. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen wrote on Twitter that they deliberate to permit individuals to fly out of Kabul airport by way of industrial flights after the August deadline.

Nonetheless, it remained unclear what industrial carriers would instantly resume flights to an airport totally beneath Taliban management.

Whereas the ultimate deadline is simply over per week away, analyst Patricia Lewis stated the sensible deadline for the evacuations to cease was “the next couple of days.”

“You can’t just say, ‘OK, midnight, we’ll stop now, we’ll just pack up gently,'” stated Lewis, who’s the director of the worldwide safety program on the Chatham Home worldwide affairs assume tank. “There’s a huge amount of stuff that has to be done, including getting all the people out who are doing the job and all the equipment.”

“All of the allies are highly dependent on the U.S. for military cover, particularly air cover,” Lewis stated. “They can’t put their own people at risk, so it really depends on when the U.S. starts packing up.”

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Related Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jill Lawless in London, Karel Janicek in Prague, and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.