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G7 Leaders Discuss Way Forward In Afghanistan As August 31 Deadline Nears

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President Joe Biden is all set to meet virtually with G7 leaders to ensure the world's leading democracies are aligned and united on the way forward to address the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

At 9.30 AM ET today, Biden will also discuss continuing Washington's close coordination on the Afghanistan policy, acute humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, and evacuating U.S. citizens, the White House said.

Biden is expected to address the media on the outcome of the talks at 12 PM ET. "The President delivers remarks on our ongoing efforts in Afghanistan to evacuate American citizens, SIV applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans, and his meeting with fellow G7 leaders on how our nations can come together in support of the Afghan people," says an update on the President's public schedule for Tuesday.

The G-7 summit is to hear allies press Biden to delay the withdrawal of US forces beyond the August 31 deadline set by the Taliban, reports say.

US troops control Kabul airport from where tens of thousands of people, mainly Afghans working for foreign forces, have been evacuated.

Thousands of people are stranded outside the airport to flee the country fearing reprisals from the Taliban militants now in power.

At a White House press briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that U.S. troops have facilitated the evacuation of more than 37,000 people out of the country since August 14.

"In the last 24 hours alone, 28 U.S. military flights have evacuated approximately 10,400 people from Kabul. In addition, 61 coalition aircraft have evacuated approximately 5,900 additional people. That is more than 16,000 people in 24 hours. And the flights are continuing hour by hour as we speak," he told reporters.

"We have established a network of transit centers in multiple countries in the Gulf and Europe, where we are getting U.S. citizens on flights home and we are running biometric and biographic background checks on Afghan evacuees before bringing them to the United States or having them relocated to a third country," she added. In all, 26 countries on four continents are contributing to this effort — one of the largest airlifts in history.

Sullivan said that amidst these operations, the U.S. troops are sustaining the highest level of vigilance for an attack against the Kabul airport by Islamic State or another terrorist group. "Our commanders on the ground have taken every step they can to prepare for such an attack. Our President has authorized every capability that those commanders have asked for to protect the airfield against such an attack," the top U.S. security official said.

He said the Biden administration remains in close touch with allies and partners to coordinate the evacuation of their own citizens and their priority personnel, as well as to respond to the ongoing political and security situation in Afghanistan.

The President has spoken with the British Prime Minister, the German Chancellor, the French President, the Spanish President, the Italian Prime Minister, the Emir of Qatar, and the Crown Prince of the UAE.

Asked if the government is engaged in talks with the Taliban over extending the August 31 deadline for the U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan, Sullivan replied, "We are in talks with the Taliban on a daily basis through both political and security channels".

The Taliban have warned of consequences if foreign troops are not withdrawn from the war-ravaged country by the agreed deadline.

US allies have already made it clear that they will not be able to evacuate all Afghans fleeing the country by August 31.

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