UK evacuation flights air lifting Afghans desperate to leave Afghanistan could end in just 48 hours unless an extension with the Taliban is agreed, according to reports.
The US and UK could pull out of Afghanistan fully if negotiations with the Taliban fail to yield an agreement to allow evacuations to continue beyond the initially agreed 31 August deadline, according to Sky News.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said today that the UK now has “hours now, not weeks” to get people out of Afghanistan. He also said Britain’s involvement in the country would end once the US pulls out fully, which is scheduled to happen on 31 August.
A Taliban spokesperson said it would not back an extension to Western withdrawal efforts. The Taliban view the US and UK’s presence in the country as an occupation.
Suhail Shaheen said if the evacuation effort extended beyond 31 August, there would be consequences.
In response to the Taliban’s statement, Downing Street said Britain will continue its evacuation process “as long as the security situation allows”.
Thousands of Afghans are waiting at Kabul airport in the hope they will be chosen to be airlifted out of the country.
Discussions with the Taliban have been taking place on the ground, a Downing Street spokesperson said.