Taliban will not allow western forces to extend Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline: Sources

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The Taliban will not extend an Aug. 31 deadline for Western forces to leave Afghanistan, two sources in the extremist group told Reuters on Monday.

A Taliban leadership official said the deadline would not be extended after President Joe Biden said US troops might stay longer to oversee a “hard and painful” evacuation.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Biden this week to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan, but even if one is agreed, the West will also need the approval of the Taliban, a British defense official said.

Panicked Afghans have clamored to board flights out of Kabul, fearing reprisals and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law that the Sunni Muslim group implemented when it held power.

The Taliban seized power just over a week ago as the United States and its allies withdrew troops after a 20-year war launched in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as US forces hunted al-Qaeda leaders and sought to punish their Taliban hosts.

The administration of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, struck a deal with the Taliban last year allowing the United Sates to withdraw its forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

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