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The Taliban warned of 'consequences' if the US extends its military presence in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline

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Taliban spokesman
Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesperson. Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images
  • A Taliban spokesperson said that extending the US withdrawal deadline could provoke a "reaction."

  • The warning came after Biden said the US could extend its August 31 deadline to help the evacuation.

  • Scenes of chaos and terror have unfolded at Kabul airport after the Taliban seized power.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Taliban spokesperson warned of "consequences" if the US kept troops in Afghanistan beyond its August 31 deadline hours after President Joe Biden said he could do exactly that.

In an interview with Sky News on Sunday, the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said: "It's a red line. President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that."

"If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations - the answer is no. Or there would be consequences," he added.

"It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction," Shaheen continued.

Taliban sources have also told Reuters that they would not extend the August 31 deadline for Western forces. They added that no one had approached the group about pushing the date back.

Shaheen's statement came hours after Biden told a Sunday press conference that the US could extend the August 31 withdrawal deadline as efforts to evacuate thousands of US citizens and Afghans who have worked for Western nations continue.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would personally request a deadline extension from Biden.

Scenes of chaos and desperation have unfolded at Kabul's international airport after the Taliban seized power more than a week ago, as thousands fleeing the Islamist group attempt to leave the country.

Seven people were killed in a stampede at the airport on Sunday, and an Afghan military member was killed in a firefight early Monday morning, reports said.

The US and its allies have evacuated about 28,000 people from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban's seizing power in a rapid offensive that took Western powers by surprise.

The Taliban seized Kabul and the Afghan presidential palace on August 15.

Since then, reports have emerged of Taliban militants attempting to hunt down Afghans who had worked for Western nations in door-to-door searches.

When pressed about the scenes of desperation at Kabul airport, where people have been filmed clinging to departing aircraft, Shaheen said that the bid to escape the country was not about being "worried or scared."

"They want to reside in Western countries," he said. "And that is a kind of economic migration because Afghanistan is a poor country, and 70% of the people of Afghanistan live under the line of poverty, so everyone wants to resettle in Western countries to have a prosperous life. It is not about scared."

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