After Taliban's ultimatum, Pentagon says no change in plan for Aug 31 withdrawal
- Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told a media briefing that the United States is still aiming for the August 31 deadline for final troops withdrawal and evacuation operation.
Amid speculations around an extension of the August 31 deadline for the final withdrawal of US-led foreign troops from Afghanistan, the department of defense on Tuesday said there hasn’t been any change to the mission timeline. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told a media briefing that the US is still aiming for the current deadline for final pull out and evacuation operation for Afghanistan.
"We're absolutely still aiming towards the end of the month," Kirby said, adding that the Pentagon believed it has the ability to safely airlift all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan by August 31.
According to the Pentagon, the US may need additional bases to house Afghans evacuated from the war-ravaged nation.
About 12,700 people have been evacuated by the US from the Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, reported CNN on Tuesday quoting a White House official. Kirby told the media briefing that “several thousand” Americans have been moved out of Afghanistan and they are targeting to move 100,000 people out of Afghanistan by the end of the week.
“For all Americans who want to leave ...we are getting them out every day,” Kirby said.
The spokesperson claimed that there isn’t much “dissonance” between public statements made by the US and conversations with the Taliban.
“The Taliban have been very clear about what their expectations are,” he added.
The clarification comes after the Taliban denied any agreement with the US on the extension of the August 31 deadline for troops withdrawal and evacuation operation. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid also assured the Afghans, who are thronging the Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to flee Afghanistan, of safety and urged them to go home.
“We have forgotten everything in the past,” Mujahid said, insisting that the group doesn’t have any list for reprisal.
(With inputs from agencies)