The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan issued a warning to U.S. citizens on Saturday to stay away from Kabul airport due to potential “security threats” outside the airport’s gates.
The warning comes hours after President Joe Biden pledged that all Americans would be rescued from the country as well as U.S. Afghan allies who are now at risk following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.
The embassy in Kabul said in a statement that U.S. citizens should only come to the airport if they receive specific instructions to do so from U.S. officials and urged them to complete necessary paperwork if they haven’t done so already.
The embassy’s statement said: “Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.”
“U.S. citizens requesting assistance in departing the country who have not yet completed the Repatriation Assistance Request for each traveler in their group should do so as soon as possible. Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who are awaiting immigrant visas should also complete this form if they wish to depart,” the advisory went on.
“Do not call the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for details or updates about the flight. This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the statement said.
The embassy said they would contact U.S. citizens “as the security situation changes to provide further instructions” and added a list of actions Americans should take at this time.
The warning comes after President Biden said on Friday that the government would evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans who assisted U.S. forces from the country.
“This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history,” Biden said in an address delivered at the White House.
“Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” the president said.
“We’re going to do everything, everything that we can, to provide safe evacuation for our Afghan allies, partners and Afghans who might be targeted because of their association with the United States,” the president went on.
“The United States stands by the commitment it made to these people,” he added.
Former President Donald Trump on Friday issued a new statement adding to his criticism of Biden’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan under Biden was not a withdrawal, it was a surrender. Will he apologize for the greatest tactical mistake in history, pulling the Military out before our citizens?” Trump said.
The U.S. has evacuated around 12,000 people from Afghanistan since the end of July. That number includes U.S. citizens, Afghans and citizens of NATO countries. However, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin admitted on Wednesday the Pentagon does not currently have the capacity to escort Americans to Kabul airport.
Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.