State Department Warns Americans To ‘Leave Immediately’ From Some Kabul Airport Gates

The United States and its two allies advised people to avoid Kabul's airport entrances Wednesday due to security concerns. This is in response to a chaotic U.S.-led evacuation effort.

As thousands of Afghans flee Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, they rush to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Getty Images via Anadolu Agency

The Key Facts

Thursday morning, at 05:30 in Kabul, the U.S. Embassy sent an alert to Americans advising them not to travel to Kabul's airport without U.S. officials. It also asked that anyone who was questioned about other airport gates be referred to State. The alert from the embassy mentioned security threats at Kabul's airport. A spokesperson for the State Department did not provide further information. President Joe Biden stated Tuesday that ISISK, an Afghan-based terrorist organization and Islamic State affiliate that is enemies with the United States as well as the Taliban, was looking to attack civilians and military personnel at Kabul's airport.

Surprising Fact

Biden stated Friday that he is particularly concerned about ISIS-K, as some members of the group were freed from Afghan prisons when the Taliban took power.

Important Background

The United States began quickly evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghans who had worked with the U.S. military, as well as other people who were afraid of Taliban reprisal, after the Taliban overthrew Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government. Over 82,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul by the U.S. military in the past 11 days. However, security concerns have clouded the efforts. The Taliban have set up checkpoints at the U.S.-controlled Airport and prevented Afghans from leaving. U.S. forces and allied forces clashed earlier this week with a gunman close to the airport. Officials in the Biden Administration are worried about ISIS-K threats.

What to Watch

The United States will withdraw its last troops from Kabul's airport on August 31, ending the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan. Some members of Congress and allies from abroad have warned that the U.S. military might not be able rescue all evacuees before then. However, Biden did not change his Tuesday Aug. 31 deadline, insisting that the United States is on schedule to complete evacuations on time, and that a late departure out of Kabul will increase the risk for U.S troops.

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USA concerned about ISIS-K's'very particular threat stream' against Kabul crowds (CNN).