U.S. President Joe Biden has held talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on coordinating plans for the evacuation of thousands of people in Afghanistan with just over a week left before the Taliban says it will stop allowing foreign troops to enable the exodus.
"They discussed the ongoing efforts by our diplomatic and military personnel to evacuate their citizens, local staff, and other vulnerable Afghans," the White House said in a readout of the call on August 23.
"They also discussed plans for the G7 virtual leaders' meeting tomorrow (August 24), underscoring the importance of close coordination with allies and partners in managing the current situation and forging a common approach to Afghanistan policy," the statement added.
According to Johnson's office, Biden and the British prime minister "discussed the ongoing efforts by the U.K. and U.S. to coordinate the rapid and safe evacuation of our nationals and those who previously worked with our governments from Kabul International Airport."
The two leaders "also agreed to continue working together to ensure that those who are eligible to leave are able to, including after the initial phase of the evacuation has ended."
The crisis has prompted Western leaders to consider keeping foreign troops at the Kabul airport beyond an August 31 deadline saying it may be necessary to ensure the safety and freedom of thousands of locals who worked alongside foreign troops over two decades of conflict in the war-torn country. Many fear retaliation from Taliban militants for their work with the West.
Earlier on August 23, a Taliban spokesman said the group would consider an extension a provocation that could spark "consequences."