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Embassy urges Americans to 'immediately' leave Kabul airport due to 'credible threat'

Afghanistan
Posted at 9:44 PM, Aug 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-28 22:08:06-04

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. Embassy in Kabul again urged Americans to “immediately” leave the Afghanistan city’s airport Saturday, this time due to a “specific, credible threat.”

In a security alert, the embassy said all U.S. citizens in the vicinity of the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) should leave, including those in the South (Airport Circle) gate, the new Ministry of the Interior, and the gate near the Panjshir Petrol station on the northwest side.

The alert also said U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and stay away from all airport gates as the threat is assessed.

The embassy warned Americans to be aware of their surroundings, especially in large crowds. They were also told to follow the instructions of local authorities, to have a contingency plan for emergencies, to monitor local media for breaking news, and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and to make it easier to locate them in emergencies.

The alert comes hours after President Joe Biden announced in a statement that U.S. commanders informed him that another attack in Kabul is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours. He said the situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high.

Biden said he has directed commanders to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection.

The new threat also comes two days after officials say an ISIS suicide bomber set off a blast outside the airport that killed 13 U.S. service members, as well as more than 160 Afghans. Numerous others were injured in the explosion.

The U.S. is continuing its sprint to evacuate Americans, Afghan allies, and their families from Afghanistan ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline following the Taliban takeover over the country earlier this month.

A White House official told reporters Saturday evening that a total of 2,000 people were evacuated from Kabul from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. A total of 11 U.S. military flights carried out 1,400 evacuees and seven coalition flights carried 600, the official said.