Evacuees from Afghanistan disembark from an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at the Sigonella U.S. air base in Sicily, southern Italy, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. People fleeing Afghanistan arrived at the U.S. naval air base in Sicily as Washington tried to ramp up evacuations following the Taliban takeover of the country by using overseas military bases as temporary transit points. (Daniel Young/U.S. Navy via AP)
UPDATED 9:54 AM PT – Monday, August 23, 2021
The Taliban has refused to extend the deadline for international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. During an interview Sunday, a spokesman for the terrorist group warned if foreign troops remain past August 31 it will “provoke a reaction.”
The Taliban said the deadline is a “red line” as the Biden administration considers leaving some personnel in the region past the date. The spokesman said this would cause “distrust” between the Taliban and the U.S. while claiming anyone who says they are afraid are exaggerating. It’s currently unclear whether the Biden administration will hold to the deadline.
Meanwhile, the Taliban closed in on the last province of Afghanistan that has not fallen under their control. The terrorist group said on Sunday that hundreds of its fighters were headed to the Panjshir Valley, northeast of Kabul, where ex-government troops have gathered to join other resistance groups.
The leader of the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, Ali Nazary, has said his group wants to pursue peaceful negotiations. However, he also said that if that fails then the NRF are not going to accept any sort of aggression and has thousands ready to fight.
The Panjshir region is famous for having successfully fought off invasions from the Soviets in the 80s and the Taliban in the 90s.