Brussels (Brussels Morning) As G7 leaders met to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the Taliban announced the 31 August evacuation deadline would not be moved.
Three US officials noted that Washington accepted the Pentagon’s recommendation to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of the month, but pointed out that the decision depends on whether the Taliban cooperate with the US on evacuations, according to Reuters reporting on Tuesday.
G7 leaders agreed to remain committed to helping Afghans and support the UN in providing humanitarian aid to the region, which is facing a new wave of refugees from the country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that no new dates for the end of evacuations from Afghanistan were agreed, but noted that attendants of the virtual meeting discussed the possibility of using a civilian-operated airport in Kabul for evacuation missions after the deadline.
A European diplomat stated that “G7 leaders will agree to coordinate on if, or when, to recognise the Taliban.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the importance of making sure that Afghanistan is not a breeding ground for terrorism before unfreezing funds for the country.
Evacuations still underway
In the last ten days, countries have evacuated close to 60,000 people from Afghanistan, with an unnamed NATO official noting “every foreign force member is working at a war-footing pace to meet the deadline.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned about credible reports of executions of Afghan security forces members who had surrendered and also of civilians.
She announced the UN would keep a close eye on the situation and concluded “a fundamental red line will be the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls.”
Commenting on the situation in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Moscow is prepared to help in resolving the crisis, but stressed that Russia is against allowing refugees from Afghanistan to enter the former Soviet region.