US forces fly out last evacuees from the Afghan capital amid warnings of a ‘specific, credible threat’ at the airport.
The United States warned of a “specific, credible threat” near Kabul airport on Sunday as its forces rush to complete evacuations from Afghanistan by an August 31 deadline and the Taliban prepare to take charge of the key airfield.
In a security alert, the US Embassy in Kabul warned of an attack in specific areas of Kabul airport, including its access gates, as US President Joe Biden told reporters in Washington, DC, his commanders informed him another “attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours”.
Scores of Afghan civilians and 13 US soldiers were killed on Thursday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at Kabul airport. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K).
A Western security official said US forces are in the final phase of their operations with about 1,000 civilians in the airport waiting to be evacuated.
Here are the latest updates:
US in ‘final phase of evacuations from Kabul’
A Western security official has told the Reuters news agency that US forces are in the final phase of their evacuation from Kabul and just over 1,000 civilians inside the airport remain to be flown out before troops are withdrawn.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said a date and time for the end of the operation was yet to be decided.
“We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over,” said the official, who is stationed at Kabul airport.
Taliban waiting for ‘final nod’ to take control of Kabul airport
A Taliban official says the group is prepared to take charge of the Kabul airport.
“We are waiting for the final nod from the Americans to secure full control over Kabul airport as both sides aim for a swift handover,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The Taliban’s engineers and technicians were ready to take control, the official added.
US warns of ‘specific, credible threat’ near Kabul airport
The US Embassy in Kabul is urging all Americans in the vicinity of Kabul airport to leave the area immediately because of a “specific, credible threat”.
The warning early on Sunday said US citizens should avoid going to the airport and avoid all airport gates. It specifically noted the South (Airport Circle) gate, the new Ministry of the Interior, and the gate near the Panjshir Petrol station on the northwest side of the airport.
US military, ally flights took 2,000 out of Kabul on Saturday: White House
US military and coalition flights took approximately 2,000 people out of Kabul on Saturday, a White House official said.
The evacuations took place over 12 hours between 07:00 and 19:00 GMT, the official said, according to the Reuters news agency.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. For updates from yesterday, August 28, go here.