The Norwegian military has announced that it will close its field hospital near Kabul airport by August 31, reneging on a previous commitment, after the Taliban declared all foreign evacuations must happen before that date.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Norway’s armed forces told the NTB news agency that a field hospital based at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul will cease to operate beyond August 31. The Norwegian military has been running the hospital in support of its Afghan partners and the coalition operations. 

The spokesman blamed the deteriorating security situation for the decision to shut the facility. August 31 also coincides with the deadline for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

In June, Norway said it would continue to operate the hospital until the end of the year, despite NATO troops committing to leave Afghanistan earlier. “We believe that we will continue to provide assistance to our Afghan partners in various ways, even though NATO’s military involvement is coming to an end,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg stated at the time.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Taliban rejected suggestions that the US withdrawal could continue beyond the end of August. The group reiterated its demands that foreign evacuation efforts must conclude by August 31 and insisted it would no longer allow Afghans access to Kabul airport.

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