Washington wants to wrap up operations at Kabul airport by August 31 under a deal with Taliban but allies fear the move risks abandoning Afghans who worked with western governments.

Leaders of the G7 pose during a group photo at the G7 meeting at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, June 11, 2021.
Leaders of the G7 pose during a group photo at the G7 meeting at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, June 11, 2021. (AP)

EU leaders have urged US President Joe Biden at G7 virtual meeting to continue to secure Kabul airport until operations to evacuate vulnerable Afghans are complete.

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said European leaders had urged their "American friends" to "secure the airport as long as necessary to complete the operations and ensure a fair and equitable access to the airport for all nationals entitled to evacuation".

The United States has an agreement with the Taliban, which overthrew Afghanistan's former Western-backed government, to withdraw US forces by August 31, including from Kabul airport.

But Washington's European allies fear this will not give them enough time to evacuate Afghans who worked for international missions or militaries and who are now at risk of Taliban reprisal.

Last week, several NATO member states urged the US to push back its departure, and on Tuesday, European leaders pressed the case during calls with Biden and the G7 powers.

"Several leaders during the G7 meeting expressed concerns about this timing, August 31, and we have also had the opportunity to express our opinion on that," Michel said.

In addition to the European leaders who were on the call, Michel said that he and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen had spoken with other EU heads of government.

"They told us that for them it is very important to try to extend this time," he said.

Michel refused to tell journalists how Biden had responded. 

Biden reportedly chooses not to extend  withdrawal deadline

Biden has chosen not to unilaterally extend his August 31 deadline for the full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, according to media reports published.

Multiple news outlets reported on the decision, all citing anonymous sources, after the Taliban warned against any extension beyond the previously announced date.

Biden had left the door open to extending the deadline amid ongoing evacuation efforts.

The matter was expected to be addressed among allies during a virtual G7 leaders meeting in which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to push for keeping forces in the country beyond August.

READ MORE: G7 to meet on Afghanistan as allies push Biden for deadline extension

G7 press Taliban to let Afghans leave

G7 leaders agreed on the need to press the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after an August 31 deadline, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"The international community has a few very clear expectations and demands of the Taliban if they want to be even engaged with constructively and positively, whether it's financially, whether it's in terms of food security," he said.

"We know that access to the airport now and access for people to be able to leave the coun try in the coming weeks is going to be extraordinarily important," he told reporters in Hamilton, Ontario.

READ MORE: How the Afghanistan withdrawal will affect US policy in Central Asia

Source: TRTWorld and agencies