(Kabul) A new attack on Kabul airport in the aftermath of Thursday’s deadly bombings, Sunday or Monday, is “very likely”, according to Joe Biden, just days before the end of the US-led evacuations, so I hope many Afghans will leave their country under the threat of the Taliban.
“The situation in the area is very dangerous and the threat of a terrorist attack at the airport is high,” the US president wrote in a statement on Saturday evening. “Our commanders told me that the attack could take place within 24 to 36 hours.”
Hours later, the US embassy in Kabul urged all Americans to leave the airport, as has been done in recent days, “because of a specific and credible threat”.
Health officials from the former Afghan administration told the AFP that Thursday’s attack near the capital’s airport had killed at least 90 people and injured 150 others who had been taken to hospitals in Kabul. Some local media reported 170 deaths. Thirteen American soldiers and two British soldiers were killed.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a U.S. military base. Two “key targets”, “organizers” and “operators” of the EI-K group were killed and one wounded in a drone strike in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Saturday, without revealing any name.
“This strike is not the last,” Joe Biden warned Saturday night. “We will continue to hunt down anyone involved in this heinous attack and get them paid.”
Approved bus filtration
Just days before the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American soldiers after 20 years of war, the expulsion of those wishing to leave the new Taliban regime ends at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Taliban militants stormed the airport’s basement and adjoining buildings on Saturday, according to APF journalists.
Roads leading to the airport are blocked by the Taliban and only approved buses are allowed. AFP reporters saw a dozen buses unloading passengers at the airport’s main gate on Saturday.
With the attack, the Taliban and the Americans were forced to cooperate more closely. “We have the lists given by the Americans […] If your name is on the list, you can send it, ”a Taliban official told AFP.
But thousands of people who had gathered for several days outside the site, the last stronghold occupied by Western forces in Afghanistan, were no more, the AFP noted.
A total of 112,000 people have been evacuated in Kabul since August 14, the day before the Taliban took power, according to the latest US government figures.
Turkish officials have begun talks with the Taliban to help bring the airport back into service. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Taliban wants to oversee airport security and will come to Ankara to take charge of logistics operations.
Joe Biden, who has been flooded with criticism at home and abroad for managing the crisis in Afghanistan and withdrawing the US military, has vowed to respect the deadline for air travel. NATO and the European Union called for continued evictions in the aftermath of the attack.
End of British expulsions
The flight carrying the last of its troops to Afghanistan ended its operation to expel the British in Afghanistan on Saturday.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace estimates that up to 1,100 Afghans are eligible to leave for Britain. General Nick Carter, commander of the British Armed Forces, said London would welcome them if they could leave the country after the deadline, “breaking the heart” and “not bringing everyone out”.
France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Sweden announced on Friday that they had completed their exhaust flights to Germany, the Netherlands, Canada or Australia.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France had already expelled 2,834 people from Afghanistan and was in talks with the Taliban and Qatar following the threat posed by Afghanistan.
The evacuations are planned in collaboration with Qatar, which has the potential to “organize air traffic operations” within the framework of negotiations with the Taliban. Macron mentioned, where he attended a regional conference.
The Taliban have been trying since their return to show openness and moderation. But many Afghans, mostly urban and educated, fear that between 1996 and 2001 they will only establish the same fundamentalist and brutal regime as when they were in power.
Those who have worked with foreigners or the ousted pro-Western government in recent years are afraid to remain silent or even hunt, and many have fled the flood of candidates.
Women who tried to reassure former Taliban negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai during a press conference during a peace meeting in Doha on Friday have an “inherent right” to work.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on permanent members of the Security Council to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Monday.
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