Western Nations Warn of Terrorist Threat at Kabul Airport
After terrorist threats were made, western nations have called on their citizens to evacuate the area around Kabul airport in Afghanistan.
Western nations have directed their citizens today, Thursday, to immediately evacuate the area around Kabul airport over a terrorist threat, as thousands try to reach evacuation flights.
Nearly 90,000 Afghans and foreigners have fled Afghanistan via the US-led airlift since the "Taliban" Movement took control of the country on August 15.
Huge crowds gathered in and around the airport as some foreign nations ceased flights ahead of Tuesday's deadline set by President Joe Biden to finish the evacuations and withdraw the US troops overseeing it.
US and allies warn against terrorist threat at Kabul airport
The US government and its allies raised the alarm in response to a possible terrorist attack and stressed further today, through a series of coordinated and specific advisory warnings, that all citizens should avoid the airport.
"Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately," said the US State Department, citing unspecified "security threats".
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said there was 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."
London issued a similar warning, adding "if you can leave Afghanistan safely by other means, you should do so immediately."
The terrorist movement, ISIS-K, is fully responsible in the Afghanistan-Pakistan chapter for some of the deadliest attacks in those countries in recent years.
It has killed civilians in both countries, at mosques, shrines, public squares, and even hospitals.
The "Taliban" has promised a softer brand of rule from that in its first term, which ended in 2001 when the United States invaded Afghanistan under the pretense that it gave sanctuary to al-Qaeda.
But many Afghans fear a repeat of the Taliban's hardcore interpretation of Sharia law, as well as violent retribution from those who worked with foreign militaries, Western missions, or the previous US-backed government.
Afghans fear that Taliban won't change
There are particular concerns for women, who were largely banned from education and employment and could only leave the house with a male chaperone during the Movement's 1996-2001 rule.
"They have not only saved our lives, but they have also saved our dreams," one member of a girls robotics team said of the Mexican government after fleeing Afghanistan and landing in Mexico City.
"Under this (Taliban) regime, we women will face difficulties... that is why we are grateful to be here," she told reporters.
Chaos at the airport
The crowds at the airport have led to chaos throughout the airlift operations, with thousands of US troops trying to maintain a secure perimeter for evacuation flights.
At least eight people were killed in the chaos after the US forces opened fire at the airport to control the crowds.
Despite the horrifying scenes, the Taliban refuse any extension to next Tuesday's deadline to pull out foreign troops, describing it as "a red line".
"They have planes, they have the airport, they should get their citizens and contractors out of here," said Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
International call for evacuation
Turkey, which had more than 500 non-combatant troops stationed in Afghanistan, said Wednesday it started pulling out its forces.
The withdrawal signaled an apparent abandonment of the plans it was negotiating to help secure Kabul's strategic airport after the US departure.
Belgium said yesterday, Wednesday, that it was ending evacuations after its military planes airlifted around 1,100 people, both Europeans and Afghans, in recent days.
France has said it will end its flights on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that Russia is ready to strengthen communication with China in regard to the developments in Afghanistan.
Putin made the remarks in a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Kremlin stated that the situation in Afghanistan has been deeply discussed, calling for an efficient joint response to potential cross-border challenges and threats.
The Pentagon, which manages all Kabul airport operations, said it has to wind down evacuations several days before August 31 so that the US military can remove its troops, US officials, and Afghan security forces, as well as military equipment.