The Taliban have begun halting U.S. citizens trying to pass through the gates of Kabul’s main airport for evacuation following an announcement from Afghanistan’s new rulers that routes to the airport are now only open to foreigners.
Politico Alex Thompson reports: “. @laraseligman and I report that the Taliban has now started halting people trying to get in through the airport gates. Not just Afghans but American citizens. Informal groups coordinating need to redirect people on the fly, per 3 sources.”
Earlier Tuesday, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said Afghan citizens would be prevented from reaching the airport because the government “need[s] their talent.”
“We ask the Americans: Don’t encourage Afghans to leave. We need their talent,” he stated. “The crowd gathered at the airport can go home. The Taliban guarantees their security.”
President Joe Biden‘s administration says it doesn’t plan to extend its Aug. 31 deadline for all U.S. military personnel to be out of Afghanistan despite pleas by Group of Seven countries, according to news reports Tuesday.
A senior administration official told CNN that Biden made the decision to keep the deadline after consulting with his national security team. NBC News, The New York Times, Politico and The Washington Post also reported that Biden is sticking to the deadline.
The Taliban, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that it opposes the extension of the evacuation deadline.