PM expected to press for Afghan rescue extension in G7 meeting with Biden

Boris Johnson is expected to take advantage of a meeting with world leaders to pursue the UK government’s call for US President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation period from Kabul.

Secretary of State Dominic Raab and Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace held talks with their counterparts in Washington over the weekend to reiterate their wish that US troops remain in Afghanistan beyond August 31 to continue securing the capital’s airport for return flights.

According to several reports, the Prime Minister is due to use a G7 emergency summit on Tuesday to personally engage Mr Biden on the matter.

In a tweet, he said it was “important that the international community work together to ensure safe evacuations”.

Secretary of State James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour program that the government would continue to try to convince the White House incumbent to extend the withdrawal period.

“The more time we have, the more people we can evacuate, of course, and we urge that,” said Mr Cleverly.

But the president signaled on Sunday that he did not want US forces to remain in the Central Asian country beyond August.

When asked about the delay in the withdrawal of American troops during a press conference, Mr. Biden said, “Our hope is that we don’t have to extend, but there are discussions about how far we are.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to the Prime Minister asking for more information on how Britain is planning the next stages of the rescue mission.

Sir Keir asked if Mr Johnson had “spoken personally” to President Biden to “ask him to extend the evacuation period beyond the end of August,” and whether Britain was working with NATO allies on an emergency plan, “without Kabul airport to hold the US ”. Troops”.

Government officials said there was “no set date” for the UK to withdraw, but fear that the remaining Allied forces without US boots on the ground would not be able to protect Hamid Karzai International Airport from the crowds want to flee from the Taliban takeover, or other potential security threats.

The Defense Ministry confirmed that 5,725 people have been returned to their homes since the rescue operations began on August 13, including 3,100 Afghan people and their families.

On Sunday 1,721 people were flown out of Kabul by the Royal Air Force on eight flights.

Brigadier General Dan Blanchford, the senior British military officer on the ground in Kabul, said British troops “witnessed some harrowing scenes” with confirmation that at least seven Afghan civilians died outside the gates of the airfield amid chaotic crowds.

It has been reported that up to 20 people have been killed trying to get to the departure point in the past week.

Brigadier General Blanchford, Commander Joint Forces Operations, said: “The terrible difficulties families and individuals have in getting to the airport are clear, and my men and women at the front have seen and witnessed some harrowing scenes.”

Brigadier General Blanchford added that he was “proud” of the work of the armed forces in Kabul, “which have shown professionalism and compassion in difficult circumstances”.

He said the British armed forces would “redouble” their efforts to “speed up the process” of helping people exit, and the Times reported that the RAF is hoping to fly up to 2,000 people a day.

The newspaper also said the military will extend the deadline for the final RAF evacuation, moving it from Tuesday to Friday or Saturday, expanding the evacuation program from 6,000 people allowed to come to the UK to more than 12,000.

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