Two months ago, the leaders of the world’s seven major industrialized democracies met in summery sunshine on England’s southwest coast.
It was a happy occasion: the first in-person summit of the Group of Seven nations in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic and the welcomed appearance of President Joe Biden and his “America is back” message.
On Tuesday, those same seven leaders will meet again in virtual format confronted by a resurgence in the pandemic, more dire news on climate change and — most immediately and perhaps importantly — Afghanistan.
The virtual meeting is being hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as leaders in the group field complaints from allies regarding Biden's handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The lawmakers who head the G-7 nations’ foreign affairs committees urged leaders in a letter on Tuesday to “avoid arbitrary dates for ending military support to the evacuation,” according to the Associated Press.
The leaders are calling on Biden to extend his self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline to complete evacuations for the total withdrawal of the military from Afghanistan. They say doing so will ensure that all foreign nationals, as well as Afghans who assisted in the allies' effort, can be safely evacuated.
Biden has expressed a willingness to extend the Aug. 31 deadline but has continued to maintain that he believes evacuations can be completed in the next week.