The Taliban have told the United States and the United Kingdom that if they do not completely withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31, they will retaliate. The UK Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace, has said that the evacuation has now come down to hours rather than weeks, though President Biden pushed back on the August 31 deadline, saying that the evacuation process will likely be hard and painful and that conversations about extending the evacuation timeline are ongoing.
Taliban spokesman Dr. Suhail Shaheen reiterated the Taliban’s unwillingness to accept extensions of the established deadline and warned of retaliation if the U.S. “occupation” was to be extended.
The Taliban swept through the country throughout the beginning days of August, capturing provincial capitals and eventually conquering the capital city of Kabul. The U.S.-backed government and military collapsed within days. Much of the estimated 300,000 members of the Afghan army gave up without a fight. The disastrous speed of the U.S. withdrawal created a power vacuum as the existing government fled the country. Various segments of the U.S. government warned that the Afghan government was ill-equipped to resist the Taliban and the rapid takeover of the country was likely.
The Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, seizing control of the government and the country. The move sparked massive panic in the streets and prompted crowds to rush to the Kabul airport hoping for a flight to escape the country. Images of the chaos spread across the world. People even hung on to U.S. airplanes during takeoff and fell to their deaths.
Horrors of the Afghanistan situation have caused international outrage and calls for a coordinated effort to airlift foreigners and at-risk communities from the Taliban’s power.
“The international community must not allow this crisis to empower the Taliban to pursue their radical agenda against Afghanistan’s citizens. More must be done to safeguard the at-risk communities of Afghanistan, including Christians who are predominantly Muslim converts to Christianity and thereby considered apostate and subject to the deadliest penalties of Taliban’s Shariah law” said Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy for International Christian Concern.