Another attack at Kabul airport highly likely, warns Biden

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President’s statement comes in the wake of a drone strike that the US conducted in the war-torn country earlier in the day, reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden has warned that a new terror attack was likely at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan in less than two days, as he put the timeframe for the predicted attack to “the next 24 to 36 hours”. The statement from Biden comes in the wake of a drone strike that the US conducted in the war-torn country earlier in the day, claiming to take out a ‘planner’ of the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISIS-K) terror group in retaliation of the suicide bombing attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport days ago which killed at least 169 Afghan civilians and 13 US service members.

The US embassy in Kabul also issued a new warning on Sunday about a “specific, credible threat” near the Kabul airport and asked Americans to “immediately” leave areas outside the airport gates.

“Due to a specific, credible threat, all US citizens in the vicinity of Kabul airport (HKIA), including 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 should leave the airport area immediately,” the embassy said in its security alert.

Biden, issuing a press statement at the White House late on Saturday, said: “The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”

Photo taken with mobile phone shows smoke rises near the blast site at an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

Notably, multiple ISIS-K gunmen and a suicide bomber had laid deadly havoc on the Kabul airport earlier this week on Thursday. Among the fallen US service members were 10 members of the Marine Corps, many of who were barely in their 20s. On Saturday, less than 48 hours after the attack, the United States hit back at the Islamic State, which had claimed responsibility for the airport bombing. In a retaliatory airstrike, the drone strikes by the US military targeted a ‘planner’ of the IS outfit who, according to Pentagon’s initial reports, was killed in the Nangahar province of Afghanistan without effecting any civilian casualties in the process.

Biden said that he had met with his national security team in Washington and commanders in the field on Saturday and discussed the airstrike that the US forces conducted on Friday night (local time) against the terrorist group ISIS-K in Afghanistan. “I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” Biden’s statement read.

Biden further warned that this was hardly the last strike that the United States was planning against the terror outfit and said that the retaliation will continue. “This strike is not the last,” he said. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay. Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond. That will never be in doubt.”

We are still in charge of Kabul airport, says Pentagon

The US military has “begun retrograding” from the Kabul airport and it’s “still in charge of the airport” and the security, Pentagon said on Saturday.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the US troops are “retrograding” from the Hamid Karzai International airport and noted that Washington is “still in charge of the airport” and the security, CNN reported.

Earlier in the day, the Taliban had claimed that US soldiers left three gates and some other parts of Kabul airport and the terror group started controlling the areas, reported TOLO news.

However, Pentagon has assured that the US will continue to operate the Kabul airport.

“We are going to continue to operate the airport up until the end. We will continue to run that airfield to make sure that we can execute our operations,” Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations Army Major General William Hank Taylor said at a press conference on Saturday.

People queue up to board a military aircraft of Germany and leave Kabul at Kabul airport, Afghanistan. (XinhuaIANS)

Nearly 350 US citizens still in Afghanistan

Approximately 350 US individuals are currently still in Afghanistan and seeking to leave, CNN reported sourcing a State Department official.

The US has communicated with nearly 280 additional individuals who identify themselves as Americans but they have not told the State Department of their plans to leave the country yet, reported CNN.

The Biden administration has evacuated nearly 6800 people in the past 24 hours from Afghanistan bringing the total number of evacuees to 1,11,900 since August 14.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III said in a tweet, “Yesterday, August 27th, another 6,800 people were evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport, bringing the total to 1,11,900 since the operation began and August 14th.”

The US had said earlier that despite the Kabul blasts, evacuation operations will continue.

Afghanistan’s situation is deteriorating as people rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control over a week ago. On August 15, the Afghan government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation. Countries have been evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation speedily. The Kabul airport is witnessing nowadays a heavy chaos due to instability in the region.

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