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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden visit during the G7 summit in June. Photo: Toby Melville/Pool/AFP via Getty

President Biden told his fellow G7 leaders that the U.S. is on pace to complete its evacuation operation in Afghanistan by his Aug. 31 deadline, and that staying longer would increase the risk to U.S. troops, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Allies including the United Kingdom and France have lobbied the Biden administration to press the Taliban to extend the timeline, fearing they won't be able to get their citizens and Afghan allies out in time. But the Taliban has said it views the Aug. 31 as a red line, and Biden is still aiming to get out before then — though he has asked for "contingency plans," the White House said.

What they're saying: Psaki said Biden stressed that the U.S. will need cooperation from the Taliban to finish the operation on time.

  • Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said earlier Tuesday that the group would continue to allow foreign nationals to depart but would block Afghans from leaving the country, in a potential challenge to Biden's promise to protect the Afghans who served alongside U.S. troops.
  • The Pentagon has acknowledged it will need time to withdraw U.S. troops and equipment, meaning the civilian evacuation could have to wind down starting Friday to meet the deadline.

After the virtual G7 gathering Tuesday morning, the club of wealthy democracies issued a joint statement that included a list of conditions on which they said the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s next government would depend.

  • Those included preventing terrorism, allowing humanitarian access, countering drug and human trafficking and safeguarding the rights of women, children and ethnic and religious minorities.
  • "We will judge the Afghan parties by their actions, not their words," the statement read.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who chaired the meeting and was expected to lobby Biden to press the Taliban for more time to evacuate — said afterward that the G7's "No. 1 condition" was that the Taliban allow safe passage for those who want to leave Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31.

Go deeper

U.S. elected to rejoin UN Human Rights Council after exit under Trump

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has been elected to rejoin on the UN Human Rights Council, the State Department announced Thursday, three years after former President Trump walked out on the panel citing bias against Israel.

Flashback: The Biden administration announced in February it planned to rejoin the council, acknowledging what it called an "unacceptable bias against Israel," but arguing that being a member would help the U.S. advance its own interests.

Oct 14, 2021 - World

Pakistan Airlines halts flights to Kabul citing "heavy-handedness" of Taliban

Passengers board a Pakistan International Airlines flight in Kabul on Sept 13. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Pakistan International Airlines on Thursday halted flights to Kabul after what it called "heavy-handedness" of Taliban authorities, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The suspension comes after the Taliban ordered PIA to slash ticket prices, warning that the company's Afghan operations could be blocked if it refused to do so, per Reuters.

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.