Gunfight breaks out at Kabul airport, says German army

The White House said late Sunday that eight US military flights had evacuated 1,700 passengers from Kabul airport in a span of 12 hours and that 39 coalition planes had carried 3,400 people. President Joe Biden said Sunday that he still hopes to finalize the evacuation of tens of thousands from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan before the Aug. 31 deadline, but “discussions” are underway about a possible extension. Jowharbrings you the latest on the situation in Afghanistan.

This page is periodically updated.

9:00 Paris time (GMT + 2)

British Prime Minister Johnson to pressure Biden to extend Afghanistan deadline

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the Afghanistan evacuation deadline when Group of Seven leaders discuss the crisis on Tuesday, two UK ministers said.

Biden said Sunday that he still hopes to finalize the dramatic evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan by Aug. 31.

James Heappey, Britain’s Armed Forces Minister, and James Cleverly, Foreign Minister, said Britain was pushing for the deadline to be postponed beyond August 31 to increase the number of people it can help those who want to flee from the Taliban.

Heappey told Sky News that around 4,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK were still in Afghanistan and that the government wanted to evacuate thousands more if it could.

“What I think we’ve all learned over the last week is that the timelines around which we plan are not always completely within our control,” Cleverly told the BBC on Sunday night. “Now obviously the more time we have, the more people we can evacuate and that’s what we’re pushing.”

The Taliban appeared to be cooperating, but Britain could not rely on such support that would last indefinitely, he said.

“So we’re prioritizing getting as many people out as quickly as possible. If we can buy more time that’s great, but I think we shouldn’t rely on the fact that we’ll have more time to do this,” Cleverly said. . .

Johnson will host a virtual meeting of leaders from the G7 group of advanced economies on Tuesday.

The British government is also seeking new sanctions against the Taliban.

7:15 Paris time (GMT + 2)

Germany says shooting involving western forces breaks out at Kabul airport

A shootout broke out between unidentified gunmen, Western security forces and Afghan guards at the north gate of Kabul airport on Monday, Germany’s armed forces said, as thousands of Afghans and foreigners packed the airport, trying to flee the Taliban government. .

An Afghan guard was killed and three others wounded in the battle, which also involved US and German forces, the German military said on Twitter, without specifying whether the dead Afghan was one of the Taliban fighters deployed to protect the airport.

The airport has been a scene of chaos since the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on August 15 when US and international forces attempt to evacuate their citizens and vulnerable Afghans.

The evacuation of Kabul ‘is going to be a long process despite the fact that time is ticking’

3:45 Paris time (GMT + 2)

The avalanche of evacuation flights continues

In a statement Sunday night, a White House official said eight US military flights, seven C-17s and one C-130, evacuated about 1,700 passengers from Hamid Karzai International Airport in a 12-hour period that ended. at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). In addition, 39 coalition aircraft took off with about 3,400 passengers, the official said.

Since Aug. 14, the United States has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of about 30,300 people on military and coalition flights, the official said. Tens of thousands of people remain to join the airlift, which has been held back by security concerns and obstacles from the US bureaucracy.

On Saturday, 3,900 Americans left Kabul on 23 US military flights, US President Joe Biden said Sunday.

“We do not see any reason why this pace will not continue,” the president said. The US military says it has the capacity to transport 5,000 to 9,000 people out of Kabul per day.

Kabul scenes ‘a PR nightmare’ for the White House, says France 24’s Philip Turle

00:30 Paris time (GMT + 2)

Biden hopes to end Afghan air travel in time

US President Joe Biden said Sunday that he still hopes to finalize the dramatic evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan by August 31, as Islamists blamed Washington for the heartbreaking scenes of chaos and despair in the Kabul airport.

A week after the hardline militant group made a shocking return to power, terrified Afghans were still trying to flee, skeptical of the Taliban’s promises of a softer version of their brutal 1996-2001 rule.

Biden had previously set August 31 as the date to complete the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But the United States and its allies have been unable to cope with large numbers of people trying to get on evacuation flights, leaving Kabul airport in disarray and the European Union warning that it may be “impossible” to get everyone out before departure. deadline.

Speaking at the White House, Biden said his “hope is that we don’t have to stretch.”

But he also said “discussions” were taking place among military officials about the possibility of an extension.

“We will see what we can do,” he added when journalists asked him what his response was to foreign leaders asking for more time.

“We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong,” Biden said, citing the threat of attacks from the Islamic State group in particular.

He recognized the scorching scenes at the US-controlled Hamid Karzai International Airport, which included babies and children being handed over to soldiers over barbed wire fences and men clinging to the outside of departing planes.

But he said they were part of the cost of the exit.

“There is no way to evacuate so many people without pain and loss and heartbreaking images,” he said.

( Jowharwith AFP, AP, REUTERS)

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