Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said warns of ‘specific, credible’ threats against the airport even as evacuation resumes.
The United States forces helping to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee Taliban rule were on alert on Saturday for more attacks after an ISIL-affiliated suicide bombing that killed at least 175 people Taliban, sources told Al Jazeera. Thirteen US service members died in the attack outside Kabul airport.
Late on Friday, the US Embassy issued a warning to Americans who remain in Afghanistan to avoid the Hamid Karzai International Airport citing security threats.
Earlier, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US believed there are still “specific, credible” threats against the airport.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kabul, said evacuations have resumed.
“We have seen a number of planes take off. The number of people around the airport has grown dramatically since yesterday,” he said.
Thursday’s attack was claimed by ISIL (ISIS) offshoot in Afghanistan – the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K).
US President Joe Biden pledged to retaliate against the attack in Kabul, confirming that the bombings were carried out by ISKP. “We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” he said.
Here are the latest updates:
US Embassy in Kabul warns Americans to avoid airport
Americans should avoid traveling to the Kabul airport because of security threats, and those at the Abbey, East, North or Ministry of Interior gates should leave immediately, the US Embassy said in a statement on its website.
US says it evacuated 4,200 people in 12 hours
The US says it has evacuated approximately 4,200 people in 12 hours on Friday, following the deadly suicide attack near the airport in Kabul on Thursday.
“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 109,200 people,” the White House said in a statement. “Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 114,800 people.”
France ends its evacuation operation
France has ended its evacuation operation in Kabul, government ministers announced late on Friday, citing the “security conditions” and looming withdrawal of US troops by the end of the month.
“In exceptionally difficult circumstances, France evacuated nearly 3,000 people,” a joint statement by Defence Minister Florence Parly and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
The ministers added that Paris will continue to help the people of Afghanistan “by all possible means”. They said they will work with Taliban officials to ensure that departures from the country are not impeded after August 31.