The airport in Kabul is under the threat of an “imminent attack,” possibly within “hours” on Thursday, according to a British defense official.
The threat alert follows the State Department’s warning to U.S. citizens at airport gates on Wednesday to leave “immediately” due to threats. The Hamid Karzai International Airport has been temporarily shuttered numerous times in recent days as U.S. forces aim to complete evacuations and withdrawal from the region by Aug. 31.
British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC on Thursday there was “very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack,” possibly targeting the airport in the capital of Afghanistan.
The report was corroborated by a U.S. contact, saying the threat by Islamic State Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, or another affiliate, of a vehicle bomb or suicide bombing has been measured as “more likely than unlikely” in the past 24 hours, a senior U.S. official told Fox News.
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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid dismissed reports of a possible attack, saying they were “not correct.” Still, he did not elaborate, according to the Associated Press. However, another Taliban official told Reuters their guards were “risking their lives” at the airport regarding a possible attack by ISIS-K, which is a sworn enemy group of the Taliban.
Prime Minister Alexander De Cross of Belgium said his intelligence communicators received a warning from the United States about a possible attack involving explosives as thousands of Afghans have continued to gather in crowded masses at the airport.
“We received information at the military level from the United States, but also from other countries, that there were indications that there was a threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people,” De Cross said, talking about the threat around Kabul airport.
Countries including Poland, France, and the United Kingdom are resolving evacuation efforts ahead of the planned U.S. troop withdrawal on Aug. 31.
The White House released updated evacuation figures on Thursday, saying that approximately 95,700 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14, and approximately 101,300 have been evacuated since the end of July.
Approximately 4,500 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki again indicated that not every American may be evacuated by the Aug. 31 deadline, but she affirmed that the administration’s goal is to facilitate a safe evacuation for everyone who wants to be removed from Afghanistan.
In response to a question about whether any U.S. residents will remain in the country after the deadline, Psaki replied, “We expect there could be some, but I don’t — I’m not going to get into it further.”
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The Washington Examiner contacted the Pentagon for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
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Tags: News, Afghanistan, Taliban, Threat, U.S. military, Refugees
Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Attack possible at Kabul airport within ‘hours,’ British official warns