Biden says US 'on pace' to finish Afghanistan pullout by deadline

World Wednesday 25/August/2021 06:48 AM
By: DW
Biden says US 'on pace' to finish Afghanistan pullout by deadline
Biden is keen to stick to the August 31 deadline due to increasing terror threats

Washington: US President Joe Biden said that the US and its G-7 counterparts have agreed to closely cooperate on getting people out of Afghanistan.

"We are currently on pace to get people out by August 31," Biden said. "But that date depends on the Taliban continuing to cooperate."

"I am determined to make sure we complete our mission," he said, adding that the US has already evacuated more than 70,000 people from Kabul since August 14.

Nevertheless, Biden said he'd asked the Pentagon to put contingency plans in place should it become necessary to adjust the timetable.

The president also said he had spoke with G-7 partners about "mutual obligations to refugees fleeing Afghanistan."

The US president also highlighted an acute threat from the terror group called  "IS-K."

Biden said this group was targeting Kabul's airport, and was keen to stress the need to stick to the August 31 withdrawal deadline, in light of this threat.

The president said he is pushing US forces to leave "the sooner the better'' due to increasing threats from IS-K and other terror groups in Kabul. Biden says the threats are "real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration."

The Taliban and "IS" in Afghanistan are currently known to be enemies.

Biden also spoke about Tuesday's discussions with the G-7, NATO and the European Union in coordinating a response to the Taliban's "future behavior."

"The leaders of the G-7, NATO, the EU and the UN all agreed that we will stand untied in our approach to the Taliban," Biden said.

Biden added that leaders agreed the "legitimacy of any future government" in Afghanistan depends on the approach the Taliban takes on "upholding international obligations" to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for terrorism.

"None of us are going to take the Taliban's word for it; we will judge them by their actions," Biden added.