(Update 1: Adds details of US evacuation numbers)
London, Aug 23 (EFE).- The United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson is set to ask United States president Joe Biden to extend the deployment of American troops in Afghanistan beyond the current 31 August deadline in order to complete the evacuation process from Kabul airport.
Johnson will make the request at a G7 meeting on Tuesday, UK media report.
UK defense secretary Ben Wallace Monday confirmed to reporters that the remaining British personnel in Afghanistan would not likely remain after the US withdrawal.
“It’s really important for people to understand the United States has over 6,000 people in Kabul airport and when they withdraw that will take away the framework,” Wallace said, adding “we will have to go as well.”
The US military is currently in control of Kabul airport, where thousands of Afghans have gathered in a desperate bid to flee the Taliban.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the UK’s Sky News Monday that any extension of the US withdrawal deadline beyond 31 August could be viewed as a provocation.
Shaheen claimed that many of those trying to flee Afghanistan were doing so for economic reasons rather than fear of life under the Taliban. He denied reports that the Islamist group was tracking down Afghan citizens who worked with US-led Nato forces in the country.
The UK has evacuated 5,725 people since August 13, when Kabul fell to the Taliban. Of those, 3,100 are Afghan nationals, the defense secretary said.
Around 1,000 British troops are involved in the evacuation process, the paperwork for which is being managed by a team of 19 members of the diplomatic service, including Ambassador Laurie Bristow
A White House official on Monday said the US had evacuated a further 10,400 people between Sunday and Monday.
The total number of people evacuated from Afghanistan by the US since the Taliban captured Kabul now stands at 37,000. EFE