Taliban reject extended evacuation, “the answer is no. Or there would be consequences”

By Staff Writer

dpa correspondents


Kabul/ Berlin — An Afghan security officer was killed when members of the Afghan security forces and soldiers from Germany and the US clashed with attackers at the north gate of Kabul airport.

Three Afghan personnel were injured in the incident at 6:43 am ( 0213 GMT) on Monday, the German army tweeted. They were treated by Norwegian paramedics at the airport compound.

The north entrance has two sets of gates: The outer ones are guarded by soldiers from the Afghan military, the inner ones by US troops.

It is not known who carried out the attack. On Sunday the US government had expressed concern about a potential attack by the terrorist militia Islamic State at the airport or in the vicinity.

The airport has seen tumultuous scenes in recent days as Western states evacuate their citizens and local Afghan staff in the wake of the Taliban militants taking over the country.

Seven Afghan civilians had died amid the chaos around the airport, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

The NGO Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said on Monday they had received 14 people with severe injuries since Saturday morning. Six people brought from the airport had bullet wounds, the group tweeted, adding that none were in life-threatening condition.

Members of the opposition, journalists, human rights activists and local staff who worked for Western countries have feared acts of revenge from Afghanistan’s returned hard-line rulers.

International evacuations have gathered pace, with discussions under way involving the United States and its allies about keeping US forces on the ground longer to enable more people to be flown out.

The British state minister for the armed forces, James Heappey, said on Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would request an extension to the US troops’ mandate at emergency G7 talks on Tuesday.

In remarks to broadcaster Sky he added: “I think everybody has to be clear that this is not just a discussion that happens between G7 leaders tomorrow, it is a discussion which happens with the Taliban.”

A Taliban spokesman said however that the group would not agree to an extension of the evacuation mission.

Speaking to British news channel Sky News on Monday, spokesman Suhail Shaheen said: “If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences.”

“It’s a red line. [US] President [ Joe] Biden announced that on August 31 they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation.”

Since taking power in the country on August 15, the Taliban has been slow to take over the day-to-day running of the country.

The group has called on former government employees to continue doing their jobs. Negotiations with other political groups are under way to form a government.

The Taliban is also focussing effort on taking control of the province of Panjshir, the only hold-out against the Islamists’ rule. Taliban fighters are gathering around the province even as the Taliban say they are seeking a political solution.

©2021 dpa GmbH. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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