Afghans told to avoid Kabul airport over IS threat

Afghans told to avoid Kabul airport over IS threat The United States and Britain warned citizens not to go to Kabul airport, citing a terrorist threat to the sprawling facility outside which thousands of desperate people gathered after the Taliban’s reconquest of Afghanistan. The US embassy in Kabul on Wednesday evening sent out a warning advising US citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to the airport, citing an unspecified security threat as part of frantic efforts to evacuate vulnerable Americans and Afghans.

“Due to security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we advise US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and avoid the airport gates at this time, unless you receive individual instructions from a US government official to do so, “reads the safety notice. . . “US citizens who are now at Abbey Gate, East Gate or North Gate should leave immediately.”

A US defense official told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin Thursday that the threat was not aircraft taking off or landing, but an explosive device exploding outside the airport gates.

Afghans told to avoid Kabul airport over IS threat The same official, along with others in Washington, denied reports that the evacuation efforts from Kabul – which had been fully authorized by US forces controlling the Kabul airport – were due to end within 36 hours.

It was not immediately clear what specific intelligence motivated the US embassy board, but President Biden this week warned of the continuing threat posed by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan. , ISIS Khorosan or ISIS-K. A senior British official said ISIS-K was the source of the latest urgent threat in Kabul. The Taliban have vowed not to allow ISIS-K, which has fought the far largest group in Afghanistan for years, from continuing to operate within the country.
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Britain on Thursday urged its citizens and everyone to avoid the airport, with the army chief citing “very, very credible” reports that terrorists were planning an imminent attack on the thousands who showed up. gathered just outside the airport walls.

“There is now very, very credible information about an impending attack, which is why the Foreign Ministry’s opinion was changed last night, that people shouldn’t come to Kabul airport., They should move to a safe place and await further instructions, “British Armed said. Forces Minister James Heappey said on BBC radio. “I cannot stress the desperation of the situation enough. The threat is credible, it is imminent, it is deadly. . ”

Heappey told UK Sky News Thursday that the terrorist group was “extremely aware that there is a closing window for people to leave [Kabul]”. He focuses people on the airport and gives them the opportunity to do something they would consider spectacular, which we would consider utterly repulsive. ”

He said he knew the warning to avoid the airport would cause “real despair for many people who have yet to be taken out of the country, but let’s not be too careful: the threat, so I can’t give you the details, is very imminent. , very credible, very lethal “.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned Americans to always be aware of their surroundings, to follow instructions from local authorities, to have contingency plans for emergencies, to monitor local media, and to follow the Department of Been on social media.

The Biden administration has accelerated the pace of evacuations of at-risk US and Afghan citizens from Kabul in recent days. The US government said Thursday that more than 95,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan in the past two weeks.

But there were still more than 10,000 people gathered outside the Kabul airport, hoping to catch one of the flights out of the country, Army Major General Hank Taylor said Wednesday.

BBC News correspondent Secunder Kermani, who reported daily in the crowd of desperate Afghans outside the airport, said Thursday that news such as the dire warning of a possible imminent attack by Western authorities, “will not filter those people to land there They are so desperate that they don’t

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