The US Embassy in Kabul has advised everyone to leave the airport as soon as possible due to a “particular, credible” threat, only hours after Vice President Joe Biden warned that another attack on the Kabul airport was imminent.
The Embassy’s Saturday night warning, however, heightened the urgency since it made no indication of who is behind the threat.
‘As a consequence of a particular, credible threat, any US nationals in the Kabul airport (HKIA) region should immediately leave the airport area.’
Prior to delivering the warning, Biden vowed that his retaliatory attack on an ISIS-K assault that killed 13 US troops would not be the last, saying the on-ground situation remains very dangerous.”
President Obama defended his drone strike, which the Pentagon said killed two ISIS-K’planners and facilitators’ in response to the deadly suicide bomb attack, as the US military rushes to complete the evacuation of Kabul airport prior to President Biden’s Tuesday deadline for its people’s withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan.
‘I promised that we would prosecute the group which is responsible for the attack on the US troops and on the innocent civilians in Kabul, and that is exactly what we have done. This was not the last assault. ‘We will continue to pursue and punish those guilty for that heinous crime,’ Biden said in a brief statement released Saturday.
Taliban condemned the US drone attack, calling it a “clear assault on Afghan land.”
‘The US should have informed us before carrying out the assault,’ claimed Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, on Saturday.
Mujahid then apologized on Twitter, saying, ‘Reuters interviewed me and it distorted my words.’ I strongly encourage the media and journalists to ignore these comments.’
According to Mujahid, the drone strike wounded two women and a child. According to the Pentagon, no civilians have been killed.
After originally claiming just one fatality, the Pentagon earlier admitted that two of ISIS-K targets were dead and one was wounded in the drone strike in response to the Kabul suicide attack.
William D. ‘Hank’ Taylor stated at a Pentagon briefing this Saturday that the two murdered targets were ‘high-profile’ but not the senior members of ISIS-K, and that no civilian deaths had been recorded.
The retaliatory assault occurred a day after a suicide bomber from ISIS-K detonated himself near Kabul International Airport which killed 13 US troops and many Afghan civilians.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Saturday that the threat of terror at the airport is still “extremely real” and “very dynamic.”
‘Threats remain very real and dynamic, and we are thoroughly monitoring them in real time and we are using all available instruments to ensure that we remain focused on the threat stream and do everything necessary to protect our troops,’ Kirby said during a briefing.
The Pentagon described the two drone strike victims as a “facilitator” and”planner” of ISIS-K plans who were planning future attacks in Kabul, however, they did not disclose their names.
‘They lost a facilitator and a planner, and one was hurt.’ The fact that these two terrorists are no longer alive is a good thing,’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
It was unclear immediately if the ISIS-K members who were targeted were directly involved in the Kabul airport attack on Thursday. The US military first said that one person had been killed.
‘They were ISIS-K strategists and facilitators, which is enough evidence in and of itself. I’m not going to go into the details of these individuals or their potential participation,’ Kirby added. ‘We have the capacity and resources to maintain counterterrorism capabilities beyond the horizon, and we will defend ourselves,’ he added.
‘It was a single operation to acquire these targets, and when evaluations and information came in overtime, it was established that another was killed and another was wounded,’ Kirby said.
Another military source told CNN that the assault on Friday took place only after surveillance confirmed the target’s children and wife had left the home.
According to a defense source who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details that have not yet been made public, Biden authorized the drone operation, which was carried out by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The Pentagon has reported that 6,800 individuals have been evacuated in the last 24 hours from Afghanistan, with 1,400 more being screened and processed at the airport.
According to Taylor, US and NATO forces have evacuated 117,000 people since July, including 5,400 US citizens.
However, optimism for those who are not already inside the airport is dwindling, since the Taliban closed the airport to the bulk of Afghans attempting to leave on Saturday.
According to the Pentagon, some airport gates remain open and US passport holders are still allowed.
However, the US Embassy issued an urgent warning on Saturday, urging Americans to avoid visiting the airport and its gates.
‘U.S. people who are presently at the North gate, East gate, Abbey gate, or New Ministry of Interior gate should immediately leave,’ the Embassy said.
Mujahid, the Taliban’s top spokesman, said on Saturday that a new Afghan government would be unveiled within the next week.
He appealed with theUS and other Western countries to maintain their diplomatic relations after their departure, which he predicted would happen “very soon.”
There is growing dissatisfaction in Kabul over the intense economic downfall caused by a sinking currency and alarming rise in the food prices, with banks remaining shuttered two weeks after the city was taken over by the Taliban.
Mujahid said that people have already been assigned to key institutions such as the ministries of education and public health, as well as the national bank.
Meanwhile, the American rescue operation is in its last hours before President Joe Biden’s departure deadline on Tuesday, and US troops will now focus on final equipment removal or destruction and service member evacuation.
After almost two decades in Afghanistan, the bulk of NATO nations have finally returned their troops, putting a stop to a frantic airlift which Western leaders recognized was still leaving a lot of their local allies and people behind.
America, which claims to have performed the evacuation of more than 100,000 individuals since the Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15, was continuing airlifts ahead of Biden’s deadline on Tuesday.
Britain was also completing its last evacuation flights on Saturday, but PM Boris Johnson vowed to bring more individuals at risk from the Taliban to Britain utilizing other means.
Laurie Bristow, British ambassador to Afghanistan, said in a video from the Kabul airport and on his Twitter account that it was “time to finish this phase of the operation immediately.”
‘However, we have not forgotten those who still need evacuation,’ he said. ‘We will continue to do all in our ability to help them.’ We haven’t forgotten Afghanistan’s brave and decent people. They have the right to live in security and peace.
Taliban militants were stationed at the airport, ready to take over peacefully as American forces left, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Pentagon stressed on Friday that the Taliban, who have seized control of Afghanistan, are not in command of airport operations.
Following a fatal suicide attack two days earlier, Taliban leaders stationed additional soldiers outside the airport on Saturday to keep large crowds at bay.
New tiers of checkpoints sprang up on the roads that lead to the airport by Taliban fighters equipped with night vision goggles and Humvees taken from the security forces of Afghanistan.
Areas that saw large crowds had gathered in previous weeks in an attempt to flee the country were largely empty.
An Islamic State branch killed 169 Afghans including 13 US military personnel in a suicide attack on Thursday, and there were big concerns that the organization, which is much more radical than the Taliban, might strike again. Following US Vice President Joe Biden’s promise of immediate retaliation, the US army said it killed one IS terrorist in a drone strike early Saturday.
According to an Afghan who worked as an interpreter for US soldiers, he was part of a group of people that were given clearance to leave and tried to arrive at the airport late on Friday. The Taliban said that the Americans had ordered them to let only holders of US passports pass.