President Joe Biden ruled out the possibility of delaying the withdrawal of his troops beyond August 31 in order to continue with the evacuations of Westerners and Afghans.
Despite pressure from several European countries, Biden decided to accept the Pentagon’s recommendation to stick to the August 31 deadline set by the United States to conclude evacuation operations and leave Afghanistan, according to CNN and Fox News.
These reports, citing official sources, came after the conclusion of a virtual meeting of G7 leaders on Afghanistan, with countries such as the United Kingdom and France advocating extending the timetable to ensure that all those who need to be evacuated can be evacuated.
Biden opted to keep his original deadline in place, but has asked his team to develop options in case he changes his mind at some point and decides to extend the military presence there, the same source said.
The president made that decision a day after a Taliban spokesman warned that extending the evacuations beyond the end of August would be a “red line” for them and would provoke “a backlash.”
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference on Tuesday that, for now, the Pentagon was still working toward the goal of completing the departure of its troops and the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan partners from Afghanistan by Aug. 31.