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Taliban says U.S. will face “consequences” if withdrawal deadline extends

“If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” said Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.

Suhail Shaheen AFP via Getty Images

A Taliban spokesperson said the United States will face “consequences” if their troops remain in Afghanistan past their Aug. 31 deadline.

In an interview with Sky News, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said the U.S. keeping their military personnel in Afghanistan past the deadline could cause problems. “It’s a red line,” he said. “President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So, if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that.”

“If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” he added.

“It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction,” Shaheen said.

Military advisers told the White House that President Biden needs to make a decision about extending the deadline by Tuesday (Aug. 24). If he agrees, the military is anticipating a “few more days” of trying to evacuate people before all U.S. troops are withdrawn.

The president told correspondents on Sunday (Aug. 22) that “there’s discussions going on in the military about extending. My hope is we will not have to extend, but they are going to be discussions.” He also said the decision will depend “on how far along we are in the process” of evacuating Americans.

Biden said negotiations to extend the withdrawal deadline have not been discussed with the Taliban yet. “We’ve discussed a lot with the Taliban. They’ve been cooperative and extending some of the perimeter,” he said. “That remains to be seen if we asked that question.”

So far, over 28,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of Kabul and the Afghan presidential palace on Aug. 15. Last week, Biden vowed to evacuate all Americans and Afghan allies from the country.

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