Afghanistan: Richard Kemp 'You have to point finger at Biden'
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The Prime Minister has said he will use Tuesday’s G7 virtual summit – which the UK is hosting – to urge his US counterpart to keep troops in the war-torn country beyond his September 11 deadline. It is hoped that doing this would allow more foreign nationals and asylum seekers to leave the country before the fanatical militants take complete control.
The main obstacles Mr Johnson faces are Mr Biden’s reluctance to extend the deadline – and getting the Taliban to agree.
But some claim that with numerous people dying in chaotic scenes outside Kabul Airport in recent days – the Taliban may welcome an extension.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Johnson wrote: “I will convene G7 leaders on Tuesday for urgent talks on the situation in Afghanistan.
“It is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years.”
Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, the former chief of defence staff, told the Times that extending the evacuation window would “undoubtedly” save lives if the Taliban agreed to it.
He added: “Western politicians [are] sleepwalking through this at the moment, coming out with all sorts of statements of regret and recrimination.
“It’s so important that we now get a grip of it.
“For me, this is a classic potential UN multilateral humanitarian intervention operation and it needs to be thought through and implemented quickly — not something, by the way, the UN are renowned for sadly.
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“But on this one, I think there could be an international consensus and the Taliban ironically might well welcome it, because the alternative is some very bad headlines come September 1 when we see starving Afghans, and worse potentially, simply because they don’t have the capacity to deal with it.
“So there’s the makings of an immediate first stage of a western strategy here, which everyone might welcome but we need to get on with it.”
Sir Nick Kay, the former British ambassador to Afghanistan, agreed with this assessment.
He told LBC radio: “What I want to see is a strong push to have that deadline extended.
“If you can extend that deadline you can release the Afghan people from the panic that they’re in that this is all going to end within a matter of days and hours.”
However some military commanders fear that American and British soldiers could become targets for suicide bombers if they linger any longer than absolutely necessary.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Defence Minister Ben Wallace have also been pressing their US counterparts to extend the deadline.
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