G7 leaders meet to discuss the situation in Afghanistan

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to urge US President Joe Biden to allow his forces to take control of Kabul airport after August 31.
Photo: AP

Leaders of the Group of Seven nations will discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Tuesday with the aim of developing a common strategy and approach to evacuating people from Afghanistan, receiving refugees and supporting the Afghan people. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several of his colleagues are expected to urge US President Joe Biden to allow his forces to take control of Kabul airport after August 31.

The United Kingdom currently heads the group of rich industrial nations that also includes Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Italy and the United States. “It is critical that the international community work together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and support the Afghan people in securing the achievements of the past 20 years,” Johnson said on Sunday.

Many Western countries say they need more time to evacuate their citizens and Afghan staff. The White House said it would discuss continued US coordination on the evacuations. The US military controls the airspace of Afghanistan and the airport in the capital, Kabul. Biden wants to end that deployment by August 31, although he is already in talks with the Army staff about a possible extension. The new rulers in Kabul indicated that Western forces should be gone by August 31.

Biden and Johnson held a preliminary meeting on Monday night. The White House, in a summary of that conversation, stresses the importance of “working closely with allies and partners in managing the situation and crafting a common approach.”

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The G7 foreign ministers already met last week on Afghanistan, then called on the Taliban to grant free passage to Afghans who want to leave their country.

Megan Vasquez

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