LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan when Group of Seven (G-7) leaders discuss the crisis on Tuesday (Aug 24), two British ministers said.
Mr James Heappey, minister for the armed forces, and Mr James Cleverly, a foreign office minister, said Britain was pushing for the deadline to be pushed beyond Aug 31 to increase the number of people it can help who want to flee the Taleban.
Mr Heappey told Sky News that around 4,000 people who were eligible to come to Britain were still in Afghanistan and the government wanted to evacuate thousands more if it could.
“The thing that I think we’ve all learnt over the last week or so is that the timelines around which we plan are not always completely in our own control,” Mr Cleverly told the BBC late on Sunday.
“Now obviously, the more time that we’ve got, the more people we can evacuate and that’s what we’re pushing for.”
The Taleban seemed to be cooperating, but Britain could not rely on that support lasting indefinitely, he said.
“So we are prioritising getting as many people out as quickly as possible. If we can buy more time, that is great, but I think that we shouldn’t be relying on the fact that we will get more time to do this,” Mr Cleverly said.
Mr Johnson will host a virtual meeting of leaders from the G-7 group of advanced economies on Tuesday.
The British government is also seeking new sanctions against the Taleban.