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Afghanistan: G7 renounces extension of evacuations beyond August 31 – archyde

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The situation is incongruous: usually, the leaders of the G7 consult together to regain control of a financial crisis, find the solution to an external shock, or, more recently, stand up against the Covid-19 pandemic. It is rare that they speak to each other in an emergency to try to respond to a double humanitarian and security challenge provoked by one of them. Yet this is what they did, Tuesday, August 24, by videoconference, in order to close ranks in the face of the debacle that occurred in Afghanistan after the precipitous withdrawal of the American army, on the order of its commander-in-chief, Joe Biden. . In this context, the extraordinary meeting convened by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – who this year chairs the club of the seven main Western powers -, presented itself under the worst auspices and did not make it possible to settle much.

The French, German and British governments have failed to get Joe Biden to extend the presence of the last American troops at Kabul airport beyond August 31. The US president told his counterparts that the “Mission” from Washington to the Afghan capital “Is in the process of being completed” to August 31, but asked the Pentagon and the State Department for “Emergency plans” to adjust the calendar ” if necessary “. Little consolation.

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Goodwill test

Europeans were under no illusions since the Taliban leaders the day before let it be known that they considered the August 31 deadline to be a ” Red line “. Extending the military evacuation operation is ” very unlikely “, judged thus Ben Wallace, the Minister of Defense of the Johnson government, Tuesday morning, insisting to the BBC that “Taliban could use force to shut down Kabul airport.”

Failure to meet the August 31 date would be “A clear violation of our agreements” (signed with the United States in Doha), added, at the same time when the G7 was held, the spokesman of the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid. He clarified for the attention of the Western powers that the former Islamist insurgents “Are not in favor of the departure of the Afghans” of the country and that they “Should no longer go to Kabul airport.” An alarming comment when, according to NGOs, thousands of Afghans – women’s rights activists, lawyers, judges, journalists – risk not being able to be evacuated in time.

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