The possibility of an “imminent attack”, perhaps in “a few hours”, hung over the Kabul airport on Thursday, according to a British official.
James Heappey, British Minister for the Armed Forces, told the BBC on Thursday that there were “very, very credible reports of an impending attack”, possibly targeting the airport in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands people have gathered over the past two weeks in the hope of leaving the country.
A senior US official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the UK report, saying the threat of ISIS-K or another affiliate of a car bomb or suicide bomber was measured as “more likely than not “in the last 24 hours.
Other warnings in western capitals concerned possible threats from the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group, the Associated Press reported.
AMERICANS AT THE GATES OF KABUL AIRPORT ASKED BY THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN AFGHANISTAN TO “LEAVE IMMEDIATELY”
The latest reports followed a warning from the US Embassy in Afghanistan that US citizens who may be assembled at specific gates at Kabul airport should “leave immediately.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, however, rejected reports of possible attacks, calling them “not correct”. But he did not elaborate, the AP reported.
A Taliban official who spoke to Reuters said his own guards were “risking their lives” at the airport due to a possible attack by Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), which the Taliban see as a enemy.
In Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander De Cross said his country had received a warning from the United States that a possible attack involving an explosive amid the crowds at Kabul airport could be in the works.
“We received information at the military level from the United States, but also from other countries, according to which there were indications that there was a threat of suicide bombings against the mass of the population,” De said. Cross, referring to the threat around Kabul airport.
Other countries have announced that they are ending or have already ended their evacuation operations from Kabul airport.
Poland, Belgium and Denmark all said their last flights had taken off, while France said it would not carry out any more evacuations after Friday evening, citing the upcoming withdrawal of US troops.
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“From tomorrow evening, we will not be able to evacuate people from Kabul airport,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL Radio in France.
Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned: “It is no longer safe to enter or leave Kabul. Denmark’s last flight carried 90 people as well as soldiers and diplomats.
The warnings from European allies came as the United States struggled to evacuate thousands of people from the country after the Taliban takeover enabled by the withdrawal of American forces.
Jacqui Heinrich, Brie Stimson, and Fox News’ Associated Press contributed to this story.
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