The Taliban has said it will no longer permit Afghans to leave the country via Kabul airport, calling on the west not to encourage the educated elite to flee, as the new rulers reiterated foreigners must be evacuated by August 31.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announced that the Islamist militant group would no longer allow Afghans to access Kabul airport in an attempt to flee the country.

Mujahid stated they were not in favor of allowing Afghans to leave, adding that foreigners could continue to use the airport until the August 31 deadline.

Taking aim at the west, the spokesman demanded that western powers refrain from evacuating Afghanistan’s educated elite, such as doctors and engineers.

He also cited the chaotic situation at the airport as a reason for Afghans to avoid it. He said the crowds around the capital’s airport should return to their homes, claiming that their safety would be guaranteed. 

In the same press briefing, Mujahid claimed that people could remain in Afghanistan and promised that there would be no reprisals. He said the Taliban had forgotten conflict in the past and would let bygones be bygones.

He also confirmed that the Taliban had not agreed to extend the August 31 deadline set by the US to complete their evacuation of Afghanistan.

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