A gunbattle broke out at Kabul’s international airport on Monday amid a deteriorating security situation, as the Taliban said they wouldn’t allow any extension of the U.S.-led operation to evacuate foreigners and allies from Afghanistan.
President Biden has suggested that the evacuation effort could continue past the Aug. 31 deadline he had established for U.S. troops to exit Afghanistan. The U.K. and other countries have said that doesn’t give enough time to evacuate the tens of thousands of people they want to take to safety. The issue will be the subject of a meeting of the Group of Seven advanced economies on Tuesday.
Staying on past Aug. 31 would raise the risk of clashes between the Taliban, who control the area surrounding Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, and the thousands of U.S. and other international troops who are stationed there to maintain security and run evacuation operations.
“We don’t allow them their presence after that date,” Taliban official Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of cultural commission of the group, which calls itself the Islamic Emirate, told The Wall Street Journal.
On Monday morning, Afghan, American and German soldiers were involved in an exchange of fire at the airport that left one Afghan soldier dead and three wounded, German military officials said. No injuries to American or German soldiers were reported. Some remnants of the Afghan army are working with international troops to provide security around the perimeter of the U.S.-controlled airport.