Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders tried to persuade the US president to keep troops in Afghanistan to continue evacuation efforts beyond the end of the month at an emergency meeting today. The New York Times quoted a senior administration official as saying that the US president told world leaders that he was aiming for his forces to leave by August 31 because the risk of a terrorist attack is “extremely high” and is rising every day.
But Biden said there is still a possibility to extend that mission, according to the newspaper.
Johnson and other world leaders were expected to pressure Biden to keep his forces at Kabul airport after August 31.
They were joined at Tuesday’s meeting by the secretaries-general of the United Nations and NATO.
Speaking after the meeting, the Prime Minister said, “We will go straight until the last minute we can, but you heard what the President of the United States said, you heard what the Taliban said.”
“We are confident that we can get thousands more out, but the situation at the airport is not improving,” he added.
Johnson said the leaders agreed to the “first condition” until and after August 31 that the Taliban must give “safe passage to those who want to get out”.
He added that there were “horrific scenes” at Kabul airport as people were trying to flee the country.
The prime minister also said that the G7 leaders had agreed on a “road map” for dealing with the Taliban.
In a joint statement after the meeting, the leaders of the G7 nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — said the legitimacy of any future government in Afghanistan depends on the approach the Taliban takes to support the international community. commitments and ensuring the stability of Afghanistan.
The Taliban swept into power last week after the withdrawal of US forces, a move followed by allies including the United Kingdom.
The group said it would not accept foreign forces remaining in Afghanistan after the end of the month.
Labour’s shadow foreign minister, Lisa Nandy, said: “This is a dark moment for the UK government and for Afghans.
“The prime minister has failed to get President Biden to agree to (extend) the evacuation efforts and the sad reality is that people are going to be left behind — that is appalling and unreasonable.
“With 18 months to prepare for this, we are left in a desperate struggle, with heroic soldiers and diplomats on the ground trying to move mountains as the clock continues to pounce.”