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Thursday, August 26th, 2021 00:00 |
Propaganda images of Taliban’s Badri 313 Special Forces patrolling streets in in Afghanistan. Photo/AFP

London, Wednesday

The Group of Seven (G7) held a virtual summit on Tuesday as the United States and its allies scramble to complete evacuations from Taliban-held Afghanistan before the impending August 31 deadline, while contention among the “rich countries club” runs deep over US hasty withdrawal from the Asian country and the chaos it engendered.

G7’s “immediate priority” is to ensure the safe evacuation of their citizens and Afghans who “have assisted” the group’s “efforts over the past 20 years,” said a statement released after the summit, which was chaired by British PM Boris Johnson. 

Despite pressure from U.S. allies on President Joe Biden during the summit to extend his August 31 deadline for troops withdrawal, Biden has decided to stick to the scheduled date.

Earlier on the same day, the Taliban said there will be “no extensions” of the deadline.

In the days since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, tense and chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport have saddened the world.

Multiple deaths have been reported, including in the horrific manner of falling from the sky after clinging to planes.

Over the weekend, at least seven Afghan civilians were killed during a stampede outside the airport.

As the deadline for evacuation is only one week away, James Heappey, junior minister for the armed forces at the British Ministry of Defence, has warned that Britain will not be able to evacuate everyone it hopes to.

“The fact is we will get out as many as we possibly can, but we have been clear throughout that there is a hard reality that we won’t be able to get out everybody that we want to,” he said on Monday.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters on Monday that “additional time” was “necessary” to carry out the evacuations.

However, as the United States and the Taliban both ruled out deadline extension, it remains to be seen how the events will unfold when the deadline expires with thousands expected to be still left stranded near the Kabul airport. 

Meanwhile, the likely massive influx of Afghan refugees has reopened divisions in Europe, as not all Europeans are willing to roll out the welcoming mat for the vulnerable people from the war-torn country.

“France (had) already taken its part,” spokesperson for the far-right National Rally, Julien Oduol, said on France Inter, a major French public radio channel, on Monday, arguing that “the terrorists (have) taken advantage of the migratory highways to infiltrate and then hit us.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that “Europe alone cannot shoulder the consequences” of the situation in Afghanistan. - Xinhua

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