‘Leave immediately’: US embassy warns Americans to avoid Kabul airport
The US embassy has issued another advisory asking Americans to avoid travelling to the Kabul airport because of security threats and said that those at the Abbey, East, North or ministry of interior gates should leave immediately. “Because of security threats at the Kabul airport, we continue to advise US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates. US citizens who are at the Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or the New Ministry of Interior gate now should leave immediately,” the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement on its website.
The embassy advisory, the second in days, came as the US has warned there could be more attacks ahead of President Joe Biden's deadline on August 31 to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan. Thursday's bombing, which has been claimed by an offshoot of the Islamic State group, marked one of the deadliest days for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. The next few days “will be our most dangerous period to date" in the evacuation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
US forces are working under heightened security amid threats of another attack as they pressed ahead with the evacuation from Kabul's airport after the deadly suicide bombing killed hundreds, including American troops. US military officials said that some gates were closed and other security measures put in place. They said there were tighter restrictions at Taliban checkpoints and fewer people around the gates.
The US military said it also asked the Taliban to close certain roads because of the possibility of suicide bombers in vehicles. The Taliban on Friday used a pickup truck full of fighters and three captured Humvees to set up a barrier 1,600 feet from the Kabul airport. The US would keep up manned and unmanned flights over the airport for surveillance and protection, including the use of AC-130 gunships, according to the Pentagon.
US officials said evacuees with proper credentials still were being allowed through the gates as about 5,400 evacuees still awaited flights inside the Kabul airport. According to the US, more than 100,000 people have been evacuated through the Kabul airport but thousands more are desperate to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.
The US embassy in Kabul issued a list of actions to be taken by Americans:
• Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.
• Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to curfews.
• Have a contingency plan for emergencies and review the Traveler’s Checklist.
• Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
• Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
• Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.