'We'll judge them by their actions,' says Biden after G7 leaders discuss Taliban approach
US president Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the G7 leaders, the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato), and the United Nations (UN) have all decided to stand united in their approach to the Taliban. "We'll judge them (Taliban) by their actions and we'll stay in close coordination on any steps that we take moving forward in response to Taliban behaviour," Biden said in a statement at the White House, adding that the global leaders have collectively decided to support refugees and evacuees currently fleeing Afghanistan.
Notably, the United States is evacuating thousands of people every day from Afghanistan on flights operating out of the Kabul airport. Debates on the extension of the August 31 deadline to finish evacuation have raged in the United States, with its allies, too, urging Biden to reconsider his decision.
However, Biden on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to complete the US evacuation process from Afghanistan by August 31, as previously laid out. He warned, though, that that the deadline is dependant on "cooperation" from the Taliban.
"We are currently on a pace to finish (the evacuation) by August 31, the sooner we finish the better," said the US president. "But completion by August 31 depends on the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allowing access of the airport to those who are transporting out and no disruptions to our operation."
Biden's latest statement comes in the wake of his meeting with other world leaders on the evacuation efforts. The US president stressed that the situation in Afghanistan could deteriorate the longer the US remains, and said that "contingency plans" are in place in case more time is needed. He also pledged that the US would be "a leader in these efforts" and will look to international partners "to do the same".
The US has evacuated or facilitated to get around 70,700 people out of Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of the war-torn country, according to Biden. Since the end of July, nearly 75,900 people were evacuated, he said, adding that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been directed to provide an update on Wednesday about the number of Americans who are still in Afghanistan.
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