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Biden under pressure to stay in Kabul past Aug. 31 deadline, the Taliban’s ‘red line’

President Biden on Aug. 22 reiterated his "unwavering" commitment to get American citizens and at-risk Afghans out of Kabul by Aug. 31. (Video: Reuters)
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As the Taliban holds transition talks, part of efforts to form a new government for Afghanistan, the Biden administration is under increasing pressure to remain in Kabul past its declared Aug. 31 deadline.

With tens of thousands of Afghans waiting to evacuate amid ongoing scenes of chaos at the Kabul airport, U.S. allies have begun to voice concerns that the departures will require more time. A Taliban spokesman warned that the United States would be crossing a “red line” if the Biden administration keeps troops on the ground beyond the end of the month.

British media reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is widely expected to ask President Biden to extend the deadline at Tuesday’s meeting of the Group of Seven nations. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his government was “concerned” about the deadline.

Biden has said the United States may push back its Aug. 31 deadline to facilitate more evacuations, adding that “our hope is we will not have to extend.” The United States and its allies have evacuated about 48,000 people since the militants swept through the country this month on the heels of the U.S. military withdrawal.

Here’s what to know

  • A firefight erupted Monday involving U.S. and German troops, unidentified gunmen and Afghan guards at Kabul airport, where heaving crowds have clamored to get on flights out of the country since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.
  • Americans from both parties overwhelmingly support helping Afghan translators and others who aided the war effort enter the United States, a CBS News-YouGov poll found.
  • The Taliban has sent hundreds of fighters to surround the Panjshir Valley, the last significant outpost in Afghanistan not controlled by the Islamist militant group.
  • Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday that a second group of Americans in Kabul was airlifted to Hamid Karzai International Airport and that rescue operations were being employed “as needed” to bring more inside the perimeter.