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US might extend August 31 Afghan evacuation deadline

Reuters news agency quoting a US State Department official has reported that deadline to pull out “at risk’ Afghan has been extended beyond August 31. The Biden administration took the decision following chaotic scenes at Kabul airport following firefighting between western forces and Afghan guards that killed one person. The US official said that safe passage for the Afghans was a priority. Meanwhile, the US carried out more evacuation flights airlifting over 10,000 people from the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Since August 14 when the US began its operation to pull its officials and other personnel out ofAfghanistan, the US has so far sent 48,000 people. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has asserted that the US is focused on getting the evacuation operation completed by August 31, however, US allies Germany, Britain and France have declared that evacuations could continue beyond the deadline even as G7 nations meet virtually to discuss the Afghanistan crisis.

 The UK defence secretary Mr. Ben Wallace had asserted that the Johnson government will ask the Biden administration to extend the deadline for evacuations from Afghanistan as PM Mr. Boris Johnson spoke to President Biden ahead of the meeting. France which has also been pulling out its personnel has called on Washington to push back the deadline. Meanwhile, the Taliban has reportedly said there would be “consequences” if the US does not meet the deadline calling it a “red line”.

According to reports, former Afghan Army chief Wali Muhammad Ahmadzai is set to leave the country after he was seen standing in a line at Kabul airport. Ahmadzai’s destination however is still unclear as he leaves Afghanistan.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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