The State Department warned U.S. citizens at the gates outside of the airport in Kabul to leave “immediately” due to threats.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” a security alert from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said on Wednesday. “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”
Specific details about the threats were not given in the bulletin, but there have been growing concerns about security at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as evacuations continue less than a week before the Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. military forces to withdraw from Afghanistan following a Taliban takeover.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both U.S. and allied forces and innocent civilians,” President Joe Biden said.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office issued a similarly urgent message about the threat of terrorism at the airport.
“The security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile. There is an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack. Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you are in the area of the airport, move away to a safe location and await further advice,” updated guidance from the office said on Wednesday.
The U.S. has evacuated approximately 82,000 people on military and coalition flights from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport since Aug. 14, one day before the Taliban took the capital of Afghanistan and overran the former government, Biden administration officials said on Wednesday. At least 4,000 U.S. passport carriers and their families are among those who have been evacuated, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday there may be as many as 1,500 U.S. citizens left.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin