Taliban issue ultimatum for evacuations

The Taliban have issued an ultimatum to the Nato states that their troops must leave the country and all evacuations be completed by August 31, calling the date "a red line". Joe Biden hopes to end the mission by the deadline but is no longer ruling out an extension. Will the red line be crossed?

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The Times (GB) /

First discharge the debt of honour

The airlift operation must continue into September if necessary, warns The Times:

“The deadline set by President Biden of total withdrawal by August 31 is arbitrary and impractical. Western governments should state that troops and diplomatic staff will stay in Afghanistan until all their citizens, and all Afghans with travel permits, who wish to leave have been evacuated. To leave Kabul without discharging that debt of honour to Afghans who have aided Nato forces over 20 years would be a betrayal.”

La Razón (ES) /

Show resolve

The White House should not allow itself to be put under excessive pressure to complete the evacuations, advises La Razón:

“It is certainly not possible to undo the fiasco of the US withdrawal, but it is feasible to prolong the evacuations as long as necessary, including by making it clear to the insurgents that they must cooperate and not hinder the efforts. This would also send a clear message that any action against the interests and security of the West will meet with a swift response. ... While it is impossible at this stage to predict what the international community's stance vis-à-vis the medieval Taliban regime will be, this would at least show some resolve.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Taliban also have an interest in return to normality

This won't be the Taliban's last word, De Standaard comments:

“Even if the Taliban are still as ruthless as they were during their last period of rule, they too have an interest in seeing the country return to some form of normality as soon as possible. Keeping the economy going without the flow of money that fed the ousted government will not be easy. If the result is despair or even starvation, the Taliban will not be able to escape responsibility. But if common sense and calculated self-interest set the tone, the damage can be limited.”