Biden to meet with G-7 leaders amid pressure over Afghanistan exit
President Biden on Tuesday will meet virtually with other Group of Seven (G-7) leaders amid pressure from the international community over the evacuation of armed forces and civilians from Afghanistan.
“The leaders will discuss continuing our close coordination on Afghanistan policy and evacuating our citizens, the brave Afghans who stood with us over the last two decades, and other vulnerable Afghans,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday. “They will also discuss plans to provide humanitarian assistance and support for Afghan refugees.”
Biden has held one-on-one phone calls in recent days with some G-7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The virtual meeting comes as Biden faces international criticism over the messy withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has led to images of chaos unfolding around the Kabul airport as civilians scramble to get out of the country as the Taliban takes over.
The U.S. has evacuated thousands of U.S. personnel and Afghan civilians in recent days, according to the White House.
But the international community has pressed Biden on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly the difficulties getting Afghan allies of the war effort out of the country amid threats from the Taliban. British lawmakers have been openly critical of the U.S. strategy, and Macron told Biden it was a “moral responsibility” for the U.S. to get Afghan civilians out of the country, according to a French readout of the call between the two leaders.
Bloomberg reported last week that Biden told G-7 allies in June that the U.S. would be able to ensure Kabul’s stability after pulling forces out of Afghanistan to the point that the British thought the U.S. would give enough security for its embassy to stay in place in Kabul.
The Taliban took the capital city of Kabul earlier this month, just days after seizing other major cities as the U.S. withdrew its forces. Biden has faced questions over violent and chaotic images and reports from the ground of Americans and Afghans struggling to get through Taliban checkpoints to exit the country.