New Delhi: The Taliban has refused to extend the evacuation deadline and asked the United States to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by August 31.
US President Joe Biden’s administration had earlier set August 31 as the deadline for withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, according to an AP report, said his group will accept “no extensions” to the deadline.
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He said life is returning to normal in the country but chaos at the airport remains a problem.
Mujahid said he is “not aware” of any meeting between the Taliban and the CIA.
He, however, did not deny that such a meeting took place, the report said.
CIA Director William J. Burns held a secret meeting Monday in Kabul with the Taliban’s de facto leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and the Biden administration since the militants seized the Afghan capital, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomacy, The Washington Post reported.
After Taliban’s ultimatum, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US is still aiming for the August 31 deadline for final troops withdrawal and evacuation operation.
“We’re absolutely still aiming towards the end of the month,” he told a media briefing.
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Kirby further said that the Pentagon believed it has the ability to safely airlift all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan by August 31.
The Taliban, which last ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, confined women to their homes, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves and held public executions.
Many Afghans are desperate to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in view of the same.