Conflicts & War

Western nations warn of Kabul airport terror threat amid evacuations

(Update 1: Adds info on UK, France, Denmark, alters lede, headline.)

Sydney, Australia, Aug 26 (EFE).- A growing number of Western nations Thursday have warned their citizens and visa holders in Afghanistan to stay away from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul due to a “high threat” of a terrorist attack amid evacuation operations.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a “do not travel” notice to those trying to reach evacuation flights in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

“The situation in Afghanistan remains highly volatile and dangerous. Be aware of the potential for violence and security threats with large crowds,” reads Canberra’s updated travel advisory for the country Thursday.

“There’s an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack. Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you’re in the area of the airport, move to a safe location and await further advice,” it added.

Australia has so far evacuated 4,000 people on 29 military flights.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office issued the same guidance.

British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News that an “imminent, lethal attack” could happen within a matter of hours.

The UK has airlifted 11,500 people out of Afghanistan since the Taliban retook power on Aug. 13, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The warnings come as evacuation operations from Kabul airport continue against the clock, with scenes of despair and chaos among the thousands of people trying to board flights out of the country.

The United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the evacuation operations take place “in a hostile environment in a city and country now controlled by the Taliban, with the very real possibility of an ISIS-K attack.”

Blinken reiterated the intention to meet the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, but warned the Taliban that they must honor their commitments and “provide safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave the country – not just for the duration of our evacuation and relocation mission, but for every day thereafter.”

France’s evacuation operations will conclude on Friday evening due to the US withdrawal deadline, Prime Minister Jean Castex told broadcaster RTL.

France’s evacuation process, which is being conducted via Abu Dhabi, has airlifted 2,500 Afghans from Kabul, he added.

Danish defense minister Trine Bramsen told local media outlet TV2 Thursday that it was “no longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul airport.”

Denmark’s last evacuation flight, with 90 passengers on board, has already left Kabul.EFE


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