Afghan government’s legitimacy depends on Taliban’s approach to terrorism: Joe Biden
The US president remained determined to evacuate its troops from the conflict-torn country by August 31.
United States President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the G7, or Group of Seven, countries have agreed that the legitimacy of any future government in Afghanistan depended on the Taliban’s approach towards upholding its international obligations.
This included the Taliban’s approach to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terrorism, Biden said. “And we agreed that none of us are going to take the Taliban’s word for it. We will judge the Taliban by their actions.”
The remarks came hours after the G7 leaders, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, reported PTI. G7 comprises the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last Sunday, entering the presidential palace in capital Kabul and ending its insurgent offensive that had ripped through the country in 10 days. The group made swift advances and captured key Afghan cities as foreign troops prepared to withdraw from the country by the end of August.
August 31 deadline
Biden also remained determined to evacuate US troops from the conflict-torn country by the August 31 deadline.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province] is seeking to target the airport and attack both US and Allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said. He added that the ISIS-K, an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, is also the “sworn enemy of the Taliban”.
“Additionally, thus far, the Taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out, but it’s a tenuous situation,” the US president added. “We already had some gun fighting break out. We run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on.”
Pentagon officials have said that the evacuation that began on August 14 can get all US citizens out of Afghanistan by next Tuesday, reported AP. However, thousands of other foreign citizens would remain in Afghanistan.
“As of this afternoon [Tuesday], we’ve helped evacuate 70,700 people, just since August the 14th; 75,900 people since the end of July,” Biden said.
The Taliban has also insisted that the US complete the evacuation by August 31. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group will not allow Afghans to be taken out after that.
The Taliban has also ordered skilled Afghans not to leave the country, reported AFP. It told the US to stop flying out “Afghan experts” such as engineers and doctors.
Thousands of terrorists might be evacuated: Trump
Meanwhile, former United States President Donald Trump criticised the Biden administration’s Afghan policy and said that thousands of terrorists might have been flown out of Afghanistan as part of the evacuation plan, reported PTI.
“Biden surrendered Afghanistan to terrorists and left thousands of Americans for dead by pulling out the military before our citizens,” Trump said in a statement.
He added: “Now we are learning that out of the 26,000 people who have been evacuated, only 4,000 are Americans. You can be sure, the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights.”
Republican Congressman Mike Waltz has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives, condemning Biden for failing to listen to the advice of military and intelligence advisors on the speed and nature of the Taliban offensive as it captured key cities in Afghanistan.
The resolution also criticised Biden for failing to present a coherent evacuation plan for American citizens and damaging the credibility of the country due to it abandoning its Afghan allies.
Taliban must safeguard human rights of citizens: G7
The G7 countries also said that the future Afghan government must adhere to the country’s international obligations, including preventing the use of the land for terrorist activities and safeguarding human rights of all its citizens.
“Afghanistan must never again become a safe haven for terrorism, nor a source of terrorist attacks on others,” the G7 said in a statement. “Working with partners, in particular NATO allies, we will continue to fight terrorism with resolve and solidarity, wherever it is found.”
The statement said that the priority of the group was to ensure safe evacuation of their citizens and Afghans who worked with them.
World Bank suspends aid to Afghanistan
A World Bank spokesperson has told AFP that it has suspended aid to Afghanistan. “We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation,” the official said.
The spokesperson said that the bank was “deeply concerned” about the situation in the country.
According to the lender’s website, the World Bank has over two dozen development projects underway in the country and has given $5.3 billion (over Rs 39 thousand crore) since 2002, mostly in grants.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has triggered a humanitarian and diplomatic crisis. Distressing visuals have emerged from the Kabul airport as thousands try to flee the conflict-torn country. There have been stampedes and firing.
Western troops are scrambling to evacuate civilians as well as diplomats. At least 20 people died in the chaos at the airport over the last week.