Washington / Kabul (dpa) – Shortly before the end of the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden urgently warned of further attacks on US soldiers.
The situation is still “extremely dangerous” and the risk of terrorist attacks on Kabul airport is high, Biden said on Saturday afternoon in Washington (local time). The military considers an attack in the next 24 to 36 hours “very likely”. Shortly thereafter, the US Embassy in Afghanistan called on all Americans near the airport to immediately leave the area due to a “specific and credible threat.” Meanwhile, US troops began to withdraw from Kabul. You should leave Afghanistan by Tuesday.
After retaliation against terrorists from the local branch of the Islamic State (IS) militia, Biden announced more airstrikes. “This attack was not the last,” Biden promised Saturday. In the run-up to the devastating terrorist attack in Kabul on Thursday, he added: “We will continue to hunt down, arrest and pay for all those who have been implicated in this vicious attack.” 13 US soldiers and a dozen others were killed in the attack. The soldiers were between 20 and 31 years old.
The airport gates are still under the control of the US military
The US military claimed to have killed two high-ranking representatives of the local ISIS branch in the drone attack in Nangarhar province. Another was injured, Major General William Taylor told the Pentagon. After the airstrike, the military initially said on Friday evening (local time) that they had killed “a planner” of the deadly terrorist attack in Kabul. It is now assumed that they also killed a supporter of the project, he said. Based on current knowledge, there are no civilian casualties, Taylor said.
The US military will be responsible for the security and operations of Kabul airport until the planned withdrawal on Tuesday, US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said. All airport gates are still under the control of the US military. The militant Islamist Taliban had previously claimed to control several doors of the airport. Kirby said the Taliban had set up security checkpoints around the airport. “But they don’t control the gates, they are not at the airport and they have no role in security.”
As of Friday, more than 5,000 US troops were stationed at Kabul airport. For security reasons, no information on the size of the troops will be released until the full withdrawal, Kirby said.
In the meantime, the Bundeswehr has also withdrawn the ambulance plane
Germany and several other US allies have already ended operations in Kabul, and Britain also flew its last soldiers on Saturday. The Ministry of Defense in London thanked on Twitter that evening “all who served so valiantly under enormous pressure and appalling conditions to safely evacuate the most vulnerable civilians.”
So far, the US Air Force and its allies have removed more than 112,000 national aid workers and former Afghans from the country since mid-August. The US military is expected to evacuate people until Tuesday, but the number of evacuees will decline due to the simultaneous withdrawal of troops and equipment. Germany hopes that in the future those seeking protection will also be able to travel by civilian plane. Apparently around 300 Germans and over 10,000 Afghans are still waiting to leave for Germany.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas embarks on a four-day trip to five countries on Sunday, all of which play a role in further efforts to remove those seeking protection from the country. The first stop is Turkey. Next, the SPD politician visits three neighboring countries, Afghanistan and Qatar, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
After the return of all the soldiers from the evacuation mission, the Bundeswehr has now withdrawn its ambulance plane from Tashkent in Uzbekistan, which was stationed there for a possible rescue of the wounded. The German airlift ended on Thursday, that of the French and Spanish soldiers on Friday.