Western nations warned their citizens yesterday to immediately leave the surrounds of Kabul airport because of a terror threat even as people continued to chase a dwindling number of evacuation flights.
Nearly 90,000 Afghans and foreigners have fled via the US-led airlift since the Islamist Taliban movement took control of the country on August 15.
Huge crowds continued to throng the airport, their bid for a way out of Taliban rule becoming increasingly desperate ahead of the August 31 deadline set by US President Joe Biden to wrap up evacuations.
Biden has not budged on the deadline even as some nations warned they would be forced to leave at-risk Afghans behind – citing an “acute” terrorist threat from the regional chapter of the Islamic State group.
America and its allies raised the alarm further yesterday.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said there was a “very high threat of a terrorist attack. If you’re in the area of the airport move to a safe location and await further advice.”
London advised: “If you can leave Afghanistan safely by other means you should do so immediately.”
And Belgium prime minister Alexander De Croo pointed to suicide bombers.
Recent years have seen Islamic State terrorists massacre civilians at mosques, shrines, public squares and even in hospitals in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.
While the Taliban and Islamic State are both hard-line Sunni Islamist militants, they oppose each other.
The Taliban promise a softer brand of rule from their first stint, which ended in 2001 when the United States invaded because they gave sanctuary to al-Qaeda.