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The Taliban is urging Afghans to stay in their home country as tens of thousands of them flee from their rule.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid urged Americans to “please change your policy and don’t encourage Afghans to leave” during a Tuesday press conference and stated emphatically that they are "not going to allow Afghans to leave
As of 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, the United States has either evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of approximately 58,700 people since Aug. 14, according to a White House official. The total for the month is 63,900. The U.S. military has rapidly increased the number of evacuees and evacuation flights out of Kabul in recent days.
“We have stopped Afghan nationals from going because the crowd [has grown],” Mujahid added, according to the Washington Post. “There is a danger that people might die from a stampede.”
The Pentagon has been deliberately vague when discussing how many Americans were among the tens of thousands of evacuees. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that “several thousand” Americans had been evacuated from Kabul, and he declined to narrow that down then and again during Tuesday’s briefing.
“We are not going to allow Afghans to leave, and we will not extend the deadline,” Mujahid added, referencing President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 self-imposed evacuation deadline.
A Pentagon spokesperson, when asked for comment regarding Mujahid's remarks, told the Washington Examiner, "We are focused on our mission and our commitment to evacuate U.S. citizens and at-risk Afghan civilians," adding, "We are continuing to process at-risk Afghan civilians and facilitate their departures from the Afghanistan. Our commanders on the ground are in regular communication with Taliban representatives."
The president decided on Tuesday to stick to the deadline despite conflicting pressures as to whether to extend the evacuation window. Foreign partners, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had urged the president to keep forces in Afghanistan to ensure the safe and successful evacuation of Afghan allies and refugees to the U.S. and other countries.
The Group of Seven met on Tuesday to discuss better coordination on the unfolding situation.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: Taliban: 'We are not going to allow Afghans to leave'