US warns of fresh threats at Kabul airport as evacuations enter final phase

The US remains on high alert for another possible terror attack at Kabul airport and has warned citizens to “immediately” leave the area, as military forces moved into the final stage of evacuations from 阿富汗 and the Taliban signalled its readiness to take over.

The US embassy in Kabul on Sunday issued an alert – its second in as many days – of security threats at specific areas of the airport, including access gates. It followed an earlier warning from president Joe Biden that another terror attack in Kabul was “highly likely”.

Biden said the US drone strike that killed two Islamic State targets in retaliation for the deaths of 13 US service members and as many as 170 civilians on Thursday would not be the last such action.

The president has also said he will stick by his Tuesday deadline to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. On Sunday, a Western security official in the Afghan capital told Reuters just over 1,000 civilians inside the airport remain to be flown out before troops are pulled out.

“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.

The Western-backed government and Afghan army melted away as the hardline Islamist militants entered the capital two weeks ago, leaving an administrative vacuum that has bolstered fears of a financial collapse and widespread hunger.

There are reportedly fewer than 4,000 US troops left at the airport, according to Reuters and AP, down from 5,800 at the peak of the evacuation mission. On Saturday, the final UK flight carrying troops and diplomatic personnel left Kabul airport, bringing to an end Britain’s 20-year campaign in the country.

As US forces pushed ahead to complete their evacuation mission, 这 塔利班 said it was ready to take charge of the 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 told Reuters on Sunday, on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban’s engineers and technicians were ready to take control, the Taliban official added.

The Western security official said crowds at the airport gates had diminished after the warnings from the US government of another attack by militants.

The suicide bombing on Thursday caused a bloodbath outside the gates of the airport, where thousands of Afghans have gathered to try to get a flight out since the Taliban returned to power on 15 八月. After Thursday’s blast, Biden vowed to hunt down the perpetrators.

The Taliban condemned the late-night US drone strike, which took place in Nangarhar province, an eastern area that borders Pakistan.

The airport attack added fuel to criticism of Biden both at home and abroad for the chaos after Afghanistan’s government and military collapsed before a lightning Taliban advance. He has defended his decisions, saying the United States long ago achieved its rationale for invading in 2001.

With Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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