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Taliban want a US presence in Kabul after the pullout

AFP/Washington
Filed on August 27, 2021
Taliban fighters in a vehicle patrol a street in Kabul. — AFP

US officials say Afghanistan’s new rulers want countries to keep their embassies open after the evacuation mission wraps on August 3


The Taliban have asked the United States to maintain a diplomatic presence in Kabul after the American pullout but Washington has yet to decide on its plans, US officials said on Friday.

Afghanistan’s new rulers want countries to keep their embassies open after the evacuation mission wraps on August 31, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

After the Taliban takeover on August 15, the remaining diplomats from the US embassy fled to the US-secured airport in Kabul.

But the US military is scheduled to leave Kabul on Tuesday under the deadline set and insisted on by President Joe Biden. So if Biden kept a presence in Kabul there would be no soldiers to protect diplomats.

In these conditions, and with the US far from recognising a government run by the Taliban, a continuing US diplomatic presence in Kabul is a big question mark.

This issue is being debated within the administration, the US officials said. They said the safety of US officials is the top priority and a decision might be announced early next week, immediately before the withdrawal is completed.





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