Afghanistan: White House won't commit to extending Aug. 31 deadline after Taliban threat

White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing

President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday wouldn’t say whether Biden planned on staying on course with the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan. 

Sullivan was asked Monday whether the administration needs the Taliban’s support to extend the deadline. 

“As I said, we are engaging with the Taliban, consulting with the Taliban on every aspect of what’s happening in Kabul right now,” Sullivan said. “What’s happening at the airport, on how we need to ensure there is facilitated passage to the airport for American citizens, SIVs, third country nationals and so forth.”

“We’ll continue those conversations with them. Ultimately it will be the president’s decision how this proceeds, no one else’s,” Sullivan continued.

Taliban sources said the group is not willing to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for Western troops to exit the country just hours after President Biden said the U.S. could extend the deadline, according to a report. 

The two Taliban sources told Reuters that the group has not been approached by any country to extend the deadline. 

Biden said on Sunday that the deadline could be extended. “Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process,” the president said on Sunday. 

The Pentagon said in a Monday briefing that it will consider leaving American troops in Afghanistan past August 31, in consultation with President Biden and allies, but dismissed the idea of the U.S. military taking back Bagram Airfield to speed up evacuations. 

The comments from Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby came as the crisis in Afghanistan continues one week after the Taliban toppled the country’s U.S.-backed government. 

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed reporting

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