US continues Kabul evacuations amid imminent danger

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US continues Kabul evacuations amid imminent danger

The US is continuing with the chaotic evacuations in Kabul despite fears of another attack just one day after an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 13 US service members and more than 169 Afghans.

About 12,500 evacuees were flown out of Kabul on US and allied military flights in the 24 hours ending Friday morning, the White House said.

Among them were more than 300 Americans.

Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor told reporters at a press briefing about 5,400 people were still at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, waiting to be evacuated.

US officials have said evacuations will continue until President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline.

Canada, Germany and Australia revealed Thursday their evacuations had ended, while British forces are in the final stages with their processing facilities closing Friday.

Biden on Friday described the US efforts as a “dangerous” but “worthy” mission. He declined to address the ongoing situation any further.

Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan walk out of the terminal to board a bus after arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, walk out of the terminal to board a bus after arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport, on August 27, 2021.
Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

The evacuations, which have been marred by deadly chaos, come amid warnings of further bloodshed, with US and allied forces on the ground on alert for more attacks.

Officials have warned that the final days of the evacuations are likely to be the most dangerous yet.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US believed there are still “specific, credible” threats against the airport.

Children accompanied by their families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, board a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Evacuations from Kabul will continue until President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline, US officials said.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
Following the August 26 suicide bombing in Afghanistan, the US is continuing with its evacuation efforts in Kabul.
Following the August 26 suicide bombing in Afghanistan, the US is continuing with its evacuation efforts in Kabul.
Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

“We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts,” Kirby said. “We’re monitoring these threats, very, very specifically, virtually in real time.”

US officials are still trying to determine exact details of Thursday’s attack, including how the ISIS-K bomber was able to get so close to the airport gate and detonate his suicide vest where US service members and Afghans were gathered.

The Pentagon admitted Friday there had been only one ISIS-affiliated explosion after initially reporting two bombs had been set off.

Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, wait to board a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport.
There are still about 5,400 people at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport waiting to be evacuated, Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor said.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Taylor said the bomb went off “right at the gate” where service members were stationed at the airport and was promptly followed by enemy gunfire from an area just outside the perimeter.

Blood-soaked clothing and belongings were still scattered all over a canal Friday morning close to where the bomb was detonated.

Despite the carnage, Afghans desperate to flee the country arrived back at the scene of the bombing first thing, hoping they could still be evacuated.

Smoke billows after the blast outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021.
Smoke billows after the blast outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021.
EPA

Afghan officials have already warned the death toll is likely to rise given that many bodies had been dismembered or not yet identified.

The 18 US service members wounded in the attack have since landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they are being treated.

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