Taliban militants closed Kabul’s airport to most Afghans seeking to evacuate on Aug. 28.
U.S.-led forces have nearly finished a last-minute airlift to bring soldiers home after almost two decades in Afghanistan.
U.S. allies understand exiting Afghanistan means leaving behind many locals who assisted them. They pledged to cooperate with the Taliban to let local allies depart beyond President Joe Biden’s deadline to evacuate on Aug. 31.
Although most partners have completed evacuation flights, the United States will continue its round-the-clock evacuations until the very end. America successfully evacuated 113,500 people since Taliban fighters seized control of the presidential palace on Aug. 14.
Biden expects a second Islamic State attack is “very likely” to happen within 24 to 36 hours. The U.S. Embassy issued a new warning for all Americans to stay away from the airport area on Aug. 29.
Britain’s evacuation planes stopped flying on Aug. 28. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to “move heaven and earth” to rescue more people through other means.
British Ambassador to Afghanistan Laurie Bristow believes now is the “time to end this part of the operation.”
“We have not forgotten the people who still need to leave,” he said in a video shared on Twitter. “We will continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan–they deserve to live in peace and security.”
We will continue to stand by the Afghan people. We will do all in our power to give the Afghan people the future they deserve. pic.twitter.com/X0VDCmwvdv— Laurie Bristow (@laurie_bristow) August 29, 2021
Asylum seekers have already been transported to Washington, Philadelphia, Madrid, and Birmingham. Some passengers are relieved and excited to begin a new life away from Taliban violence, while others are unhappy about needing to flee.
Shabeer Ahmadi, a Taliban-targeted journalist in Spain, accused the United States of undermining efforts to improve public safety in Afghanistan through letting the militant group regain control.
“They abandoned the new generation of Afghanistan,” Ahmadi said according to the Associated Press.
Turkish media reported an evacuation flight landed in Britain with an extra little passenger, after a baby girl was delivered mid-flight. She is the fourth infant known to be delivered to an Afghan mother, who went into labor aboard an evacuation plane. The parents named her Havva, meaning Eve.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed fighters have seized control of different locations at Hamid Karzai International Airport. However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby rejected this had happened.
The newswire agency revealed the Taliban has already deployed more troops to prevent huge groups from congregating outside the airport terminal, following an explosion on Aug. 26. New levels of checkpoints appeared along highways leading to the airport, with uniformed Taliban fighters driving high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, and wearing night-vision goggles that Afghan security personnel formerly used.
Officials claim U.S. soldiers are taking every precaution due to the heightened security risk of Islamic State striking again. The U.S. Embassy warned all U.S. citizens should avoid certain airport gates and visiting to the region, as a while, due to a “specific, serious threat.”
Biden previously revealed he ordered a drone strike to kill two “high-profile” Islamic State members, who were suspected of planning or facilitating attacks. He also promised this would not be his “final” reaction to the suicide bombing on Aug. 26.
Since August 14, at least 5,400 Americans have been successfully evacuated from Afghanistan, according to the State Department. This includes more than 300 Americans in the past 24 hours. A further 350 people are still trying to escape Afghanistan.