Americans still hoping to get on evacuation flights out of Kabul’s international airport were warned by the State Department late Friday to get away from the airport gates “immediately” in an eerie echo of a warning sent hours before Thursday’s deadly suicide blast.
The latest alert from US Embassy staff — posted early Saturday morning, Afghanistan time — advised American citizens to “avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates” due to “security threats”
It then added that US citizens “who are at the Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or the New Ministry of Interior gate now should leave immediately.”
The warning was nearly identical to one posted early Thursday, several hours before an ISIS-K terrorist blew himself up near the Abbey Gate, where US servicemembers were processing would-be evacuees attempting to get on flights out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the Thursday alert read. “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”
The blast killed at least 182 people, including 13 US servicemembers, making Thursday the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan in a decade.
US officials have warned that more terror attacks are likely before the Aug. 31 deadline set by the Biden administration to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. However, the administration has said it will continue evacuating Americans and their Afghan allies until the last possible minute despite the risks.
At the Pentagon, press secretary John Kirby told reporters the military is monitoring credible, specific ISIS threats “in real time.”
“We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts,” Kirby said. He declined to describe details of any additional security measures being taken, including those implemented by the Taliban, around the airport gates and perimeter. He said there were fewer people in and around the gates Friday.
Late Friday, the Pentagon said it used a drone strike to kill a suspected ISIS-K member.
With Post wires