Taliban urges US to stop evacuating skilled Afghans

The Taliban on Tuesday urged skilled Afghans not to flee the country, as the new rulers of Afghanistan warned the United States and its NATO allies they would not accept an extension to a looming evacuation deadline – even as Western countries said time was running out.

A spokesman for the group told America to stop taking “Afghan experts” such as engineers and doctors out of the country

About 16,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, according to the Pentagon, as US troops lead an increasingly desperate effort to airlift thousands more before the Taliban’s “red line” for Western forces to leave the country.

US President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to extend an August 31 deadline to pull out American forces, with Britain expected to lobby for that at a virtual G7 summit on Tuesday.

A Taliban spokesman on Tuesday urged skilled Afghans to stop fleeing the country, and warned that it would not accept any extension of the August 31 deadline for evacuations.

The group said Americans were taking “Afghan experts” such as engineers and doctors out of Afghanistan.

“We ask them to stop this process,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a press conference in Kabul.

“This country needs their expertise. They should not be taken to other countries.”

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