President Joe Biden on Tuesday caved to the Taliban and pledged to honor the August 31 withdrawal deadline for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
Biden’s decision comes after Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday morning that the terrorists will accept “no extensions” to the August 31 deadline.
The Taliban reportedly met with CIA Director William Burns on Monday who negotiated face-to-face with Taliban leader and co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar. They do not appear to have reached any agreement.
Mujahid said he was “not aware” the CIA met with the Taliban, “but he did not deny that such a meeting took place,” the Associated Press observed. The CIA would neither confirm nor deny the negotiation.
The deadline of August 31, six days from Tuesday, was not Biden’s original withdrawal deadline. Biden broke the deal his predecessor, Donald Trump, negotiated with the Taliban to be out by May 1 of this year, extending the U.S. presence to September 11 before shortening it to the end of August.
If the evacuation of American citizens and the U.S. military had been completed by the original date, the evacuation would have been accomplished before the Afghan fighting season that occurs in the summer, avoiding the choice, warm months of fighting. But politics perhaps played a part in the Biden and Harris administration’s decision to extend the war until late August or September.
Meanwhile, thousands of Americans are still stranded behind Taliban lines. Reports indicate about 3,300 Americans have been evacuated since the collapse of Afghanistan. Other non-American citizens have also been evacuated to various country’s included Qatar, where a report has surfaced about unsanitary conditions for the refugees.
Axios reported a leaked email Tuesday that depicts evacuees are living in a facility “awash with loose feces, urine, and a rat infestation.”
Spokesperson for U.S. Central Command William Urban told Axios that “We recognize this is a challenging and difficult situation” and the “current conditions in Doha are of our own doing.”