Joe Biden warns ‘very high’ risk of terror attack as he refuses G7’s Aug 31 extension plea

President Biden grilled on USA's withdrawal from Afghanistan

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Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders attempted to persuade the US President to keep troops in Afghanistan to continue evacuation efforts past the end of the month at an emergency meeting today.

But Mr Biden is refusing to move his deadline of August 31.

The New York Times cited a senior administration official as saying the US President told world leaders the risk of a terror attack was “very high” and escalating every day.

Mr Johnson and other world leaders were expected to press Mr Biden to keep his forces at Kabul airport beyond August 31.

They were joined in Tuesday’s meeting by the secretaries general of the United Nations and Nato.

However the G7 leaders failed to persuade the US President to keep his troops on the ground.

Speaking after the meeting, the Prime Minister said: “We will go right up until the last minute that we can but you’ve heard what the President of the United States has said, you’ve heard what the Taliban have said.”

He added: “We’re confident we can get thousands more out, but the situation at the airport is not getting any better.”

Mr Johnson said leaders had agreed the “number one condition” up to and after August 31 was that the Taliban must grant “safe passage for those who want to come out”.

He added that there were “harrowing scenes” at Kabul airport as people attempt to flee the country.

The Prime Minister also said G7 leaders had agreed on a “road map” for engaging with the Taliban.

He said: “What we have done today at the G7 is we have got together the leading Western powers and agreed not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation, but also a road map for the way in which we’re going to engage with the Taliban, as it probably will be a Taliban government in Kabul.

“The number one condition we’re setting as G7 is that they have got to guarantee, right the way through, through August 31 and beyond, safe passage for those who want to come out.

“Some will say that they don’t accept that and some, I hope, will see the sense of that, because the G7 has very considerable leverage – economic, diplomatic and political.”

In a joint statement after the meeting the leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – said that the legitimacy of any future government in Afghanistan depends on the approach the Taliban takes to uphold international obligations and ensure a stable Afghanistan.

The Taliban swept to power last week following the withdrawal of US troops, a move followed by allies including the UK.

The group has said it will not accept foreign troops remaining in Afghanistan past the end of the month.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: “This is a dark moment for the UK Government and for Afghans.

“The Prime Minister has failed to persuade President Biden to agree to (an) extension to evacuation efforts and the painful reality is that people will be left behind – that’s appalling and unconscionable.

“With 18 months to prepare for this, we are left with a desperate scramble, with heroic soldiers and diplomats on the ground trying to move mountains while the clock keeps ticking.”

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