Panic grips Kabul airport amid ‘terror’ threat warning

The United States and its allies have urged people to move away from Kabul airport due to the threat of an attack by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group as Western troops hurry to evacuate as many people as possible before an August 31 deadline.

In the 11 days since the Taliban swept into Kabul, the US and its allies have mounted one of the biggest air evacuations in history, bringing out more than 88,000 people. The US military says planes are taking off the equivalent of every 39 minutes.

Taliban fighters have been guarding the perimeter outside the airport, thronged by thousands of people trying to flee rather than stay in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, said about 1,500 US passport holders who are meant to be evacuated remained in the capital.

“The US and the Taliban have a deal. The Taliban are under strict instructions not to let anyone through without a passport, without a green card, without verified documents and there is confusion about what a verified document looks like,” she said.

Here are the latest updates:


Afghanistan: US, allies warn of ‘terror threat’ at Kabul airport

The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have urged people to move away from the international airport in Kabul due to the threat of an attack by the ISIL offshoot in Afghanistan, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).

Read more here.

Afghans try to reach the airport after the Taliban restricts access [Akhter Gulfam/EPA]

‘I was born here, I’ll be buried here’: In Afghanistan to stay

Why one Afghan woman refuses to leave her home – even in the face of fear and uncertainty, as the Taliban resumes control.

Listen to her story here.


Australia urges people to leave Kabul airport area over threat

There is a high threat of an attack near the airport in Kabul, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne says, as Canberra urged its citizens and those with a visa for Australia to evacuate the area.

Australia has been evacuating its citizens and visa holders for more than a week from Kabul airport, where Canberra had urged people to travel in order to be ready for transport.

Australia changed its advice to those in the area, which Payne said was based on heightened concerns of an attack. “There is an ongoing and very high threat of a terrorist attack,” Payne told reporters in Canberra.


Hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint during continuing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport [AP Photo]

Baby born during Afghan evacuation named after US aircraft

A baby born on board a US military flight during the evacuation mission from Afghanistan has been named after the plane.

The girl was born at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany and was named Reach after the plane’s call sign, the commander of the US forces in Europe, Tod Wolters, said at a Pentagon briefing.

The Boeing C-17 planes used by the US air force often use the call sign “Reach” followed by a combination of numbers.

“As you can well imagine, being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a US citizen and fly United States Air Force fighters in our Air Force,” Wolters joked.


Hungary’s two military planes leave Afghanistan

Hungary’s two military passenger planes and all of its troops taking part in evacuations have left Afghanistan and returned safely to Hungary, the Hungarian Defence Ministry has said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that Hungary’s evacuation flights from Afghanistan were nearing an end after the central European country airlifted more than 500 people from Kabul.



Macron discusses Afghan crisis with Tajik president

French President Emmanuel Macron has discussed the crisis in Afghanistan with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and Macron will host Rahmon at a meeting in France on October 13, a statement from Macron’s office says.

Tajikistan will not recognise an Afghan government that is not inclusive and representative of all of its ethnic groups, Rahmon said, accusing the Taliban of failing to fulfil its promise of inclusivity.


Very credible threat of imminent Kabul airport attack: UK

There is “very, very credible” intelligence that an imminent attack is being planned on those gathering at Kabul airport in an attempt to flee Afghanistan, British armed forces minister James Heappey says.

“There is now very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack, and hence why the Foreign Office advice was changed last night, that people should not come to Kabul Airport, they should move to a safe place and await further instructions,” Heappey told BBC radio.

“I can only say that the threat is severe. We will do our best to protect those who are there. There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice and process people anew, but there is no guarantee of that.”


Read the updates from August 25 here.




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