As August 31 Deadline Nears, U.S. Must Negotiate Land Corridor For Afghan Evacuation

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U.S. evacuations in Kabul. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Military

Now with the suicide bombing in Kabul the Afghan capital that’s reportedly claimed the lives of 13 people and also injured a few American military personnel there will more pressure to try to meet the arbitrarily set August 31 deadline for evacuation. 

The deadline was uncalled for and its unclear whose idea it was in the first place. It’s clear that the deadline cannot be met if evacuations occur only through Kabul airport. 

That’s why there’s need to open an additional evacuation corridor, a land line for exit traveling by road to neighboring Pakistan. If the U.S. and the Taliban can agree to this, tens of thousands of more people could be evacuated. From Pakistan, those evacuated could then be processed to continue to the U.S. or third countries. 

It appears that the Taliban are set on the August 31 deadline in order to take control of Kabul airport and establish its regime. However, there’s no need why a land line comprising convoys escorted by the U.S., and Taliban if need be, should be subjected to the same August 31 deadline. 

U.S. activists who are former servicemen in Afghanistan have said there are possibly 200,000 Afghans—those who worked in some capacity with the U.S. and their families—who also deserve to be evacuated. Everyone knows that such numbers could never be evacuated by August 31. However, a land corridor agreed on by the U.S. and the Taliban, with no set deadline, could indeed evacuate the 200,000.

As of yesterday the U.S. had reportedly been able to evacuate more than 80,000 people, mostly Afghans, and Americans who want to leave. 

Todays bombing, and threats of more, could slow down the evacuation from Kabul airport.

This is why it’s imperative for the U.S. and the Taliban to open a land corridor to Pakistan for Afghan evacuation.

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