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.
Taliban says ISIL attack is ‘high likely’
Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, said the threat of ISIL remains “very high”.
“We’re told that an ISIL attack is ‘highly likely’,” Bellis said.
“I’ve heard that now from a number of people saying definitely do not go to the airport today,” she added.
The Taliban is particularly concerned about the south entrance of the airport, which is the main entrance protected by the armed group, as well as the northwestern corner of the airport, Bellis said.
“The Taliban said they were incredibly worried about this ISIL threat. They had pushed people back, they had put barbed wire across the road to try and stop anybody getting close and trying to disperse the crowds.”