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International 25 Aug, 2021 Follow News


The world is waiting with bated breath as the hours count down to see what unfolds in Afghanistan in the next few days.

G7 leaders led by British prime minister Boris Johnson - who currently holds the rotating G7 presidency - this week failed to persuade US president Joe Biden to extend the American presence in the country beyond the August 31st deadline, next Tuesday.

A massive airlift evacuation has been taking place out of the Afghan capital, Kabul, with hundreds of flights put on by Western and other countries rushing to get thousands of their nationals out of the country following the siege by the Taliban militant group.

The Afghan government has fled into exile and the army has crumbled in the face of the Taliban onslaught.

In addition to the mainly British, American and other western personnel being airlifted out of the besieged country, are Afghan nationals who have been working alongside them as translators and in other roles, and who are eligible for relocation as refugees.

A US-led force has been in Afghanistan for the past 20 years following the September 2001 (9/11) Al-Qaeda terrorist attack on the United States coordinated out of the country by Saudi Arabian national Osama Bin-Laden.

The Taliban which had been in control then had refused to hand him over to the US which led to the invasion.

The Taliban is back in control again after overthrowing the elected government.

With President Biden digging his heels in over his exit strategy, a huge diplomatic crisis has developed, including the massive logistical effort to evacuate thousands of people by next Tuesday’s deadline. It is feared that many Afghans eligible for evacuation could be left behind.

Mr Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, had previously signed an agreement with the Taliban - without the involvement of the then elected government of Afghanistan - to pull US troops out of the country by May this year.

That was extended to August under President Biden, but now the Taliban has insisted that it will not consider a further extension. and has started placing restrictions on Afghan nationals seeking to join the exodus saying they are needed to help rebuild the country.

There are fears that with the Taliban once again in control of Afghanistan, this could lead to a reimposition of their anti-western, ultra-strict interpretation of Islamic law, although its recent statements have apparently been intended to reassure the West - and its citizens - that it will respect human rights.

That however has generally been met with scepticism, with many western governments choosing to adopt a wait and see attitude, saying they have leverage that they can exercise over the Taliban especially with funding.

The role of China, Pakistan, and Russia is said to be critical in how things play out in Afghanistan in the coming period.

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