Deadly gunfire at airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date
Islam News – A firefight outside Kabul’s international airport killed an Afghan soldier early Monday, highlighting the perils of evacuation efforts as the Taliban warned that any attempt by U.S. troops to delay their withdrawal to give people more time to flee would “provoke a reaction.”
The shooting came as the Taliban moved to shore up their position and eliminate pockets of armed resistance to their lightning takeover earlier this month. The Taliban said they retook three districts north of the capital seized by opponents the day before and had surrounded Panjshir, the last province that remains out of their control.
Afghanistan’s security forces collapsed in the face of the Taliban advance, despite 20 years of Western training and assistance. Since then, tens of thousands of Afghans have sought to flee the country, fearing a return to the brutal rule the Taliban imposed the last time they ran Afghanistan. That has led to chaos at the airport in Kabul, the main route out of the country.
U.S. President Joe Biden has not ruled out extending the evacuation beyond Aug. 31, the date he set for completing the pullout of U.S. forces. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to press Biden for an extension.
But Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, in an interview with Sky News, said Aug. 31 is a “red line” and that extending the American presence would “provoke a reaction.”
Source: AP NEWS