US President Joe Biden told leaders from the G7 on Monday that his country was “on pace” to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31, after the Taliban warned Washington against any attempts to extend the timeline.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden provided an update on the progress in evacuating Americans who wanted to flee Afghanistan after what has been an embarrassing and colossal collapse of the US-backed Afghan army and government.
“He also made clear that with each day of operations on the ground, we have added risk to our troops with increasing threats from ISIS-K, and that completion of the mission by August 31st depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport,” Psaki said.
However, Biden is keeping his options open to adjusting the timeline of the end of the US mission. Psaki said the US president had asked the Pentagon and State Department to draw up contingency plans to alter the timeline “should that become necessary.”
Biden’s decision to double down on the August 31 deadline came after reports emerged that CIA chief Bill Burns met with the Taliban’s Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Afghanistan on Monday. During this meeting, the Taliban made it clear that they would not accept any US military presence after the original deadline.