Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his country views the Taliban as a terrorist entity and that he was in favour of imposing economic sanctions on the group, The Globe and Mail reported.

Trudeau’s statement came ahead of a virtual meeting of G7 countries – the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan – to discuss the turmoil in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover.

“When we have our G7 meeting shortly, we will certainly be discussing what more we can do [about the Afghan crisis] and must do,” Trudeau added.

At the key meeting, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely to urge US President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan so that more people can be evacuated, according to Sky News.

Western forces are scrambling to evacuate their citizens as well as Afghan people amid the chaos at the Kabul airport. According to Al Jazeera, at least 28,000 people have been flown out of the conflict-torn country so far but many others are still waiting for help.

On the other hand, the Taliban said that there will be consequences if the deadline is extended.

“It’s a red line,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Sky News on Monday. “President Biden announced that on August 31 they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that.”

The spokesperson added: “It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction.”

Biden’s decision on evacuation deadline soon

As thousands of people are trying to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban’s return to power, Biden is likely to make a decision soon about whether to extend the evacuation deadline, Reuters reported.

Apart from the evacuation of Afghans and US citizens, it will take days to airlift the 6,000 troops who are overseeing the massive evacuation effort at the Kabul airport, according to the Department of Defence.

On Sunday, Biden had said he was holding discussions with other leaders about the need to extend the deadline, the BBC reported.

“There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and the heart-breaking images you see,” the US President had said. “We have made changes, including extending the access area around the airport – the safe zone. We have a long way to go and a lot can still go wrong.”

Keep borders open to Afghans, says UN

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees urged Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to Afghans, ANI reported, citing Russian news agency Sputnik.

“At this stage, our primary concern is that Afghans who are seeking safety can reach it, including across borders and into neighbouring countries if needed,” Catherine Stubberfield, the UN agency’s regional spokesperson for Asia and the Pacific, said.

Stubberfield said that since January this year, more than 5,00,000 people in Afghanistan had been displaced from their homes.

She added: “While UNHCR welcomes the expressions of solidarity made by several countries to either evacuate or resettle Afghans in need of protection, these efforts are unfortunately only able to benefit a tiny proportion of the millions of Afghans already displaced and in need across the country.”

Taliban near Panjshir

Meanwhile, the Taliban closed in on resistance stronghold Panjshir Valley after taking back three districts in Baghlan province in Afghanistan’s northern region from local groups, Reuters reported.

Panjshir Valley, an anti-Taliban holdout, continues to be led by Ahmad Massoud, Reuters reported. He is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a prominent leader of Afghanistan’s resistance against Soviet control in the 1980s.

Massoud has assembled resistance forces in Panjshir. The forces are comprised of the remainder of Afghanistan’s special forces and army units as well as some local fighters, according to Reuters.

Massoud said he wanted a dialogue with the Taliban but his forces were ready to fight them. “We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation,” he had said on Sunday.

Former Afghanistan vice-president Amrullah Saleh said on Tuesday that Taliban militants were not allowing food and fuel to reach the Andarab valley in the Baghlan province. He also alleged that they were abducting women and the elderly, and were using them as shields to move around.

“The humanitarian situation is dire,” he said.

Saleh claims to be the acting president of Afghanistan in the aftermath of President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country. Ghani is now in the United Arab Emirates.

On August 19, Saleh had called on nations to respect the “rule of law, not violence” in the context of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.