US military finds ‘alternative routes’ to Kabul airport amid threats: reports

The United States military has been forced to find alternative routes to Kabul’s international airport amid threats to citizens and Afghan allies from ISIS-K along their way, according to multiple reports.  

CNN spoke to Defense and State department officials with knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan as the U.S. continues its evacuation efforts in the country following the Taliban takeover. 

“There is a strong possibility ISIS-K is trying to carry off an attack at the airport,” one Defense official told CNN

The outlet reported that a senior diplomat in Kabul knows of credible terror threats from ISIS-K but added that the threat is not immediate for U.S. citizens at the airport.

Two other Defense officials told CNN that “alternative routes” to get to the airport are becoming available to U.S. citizens and Afghan allies to mitigate the threat.

A senior U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that new routes are underway due to threats from the Islamic State.

Two Defense officials also confirmed the U.S. military’s new plans to NBC News on Saturday.

President Biden said in his speech regarding Afghanistan on Friday the U.S. was closely watching ISIS and other insurgent groups that could pose threats to the Kabul airport and evacuation efforts.

Reports of threats to evacuation efforts come after the U.S. Embassy told American citizens and Afghan allies not to go to the airport without specific instructions from the United States due to the danger it presents.

When reached for comment, a State Department official relayed a statement to The Hill regarding the embassy’s directive for individuals not to go to the airport due to “potential threats outside.”

More details could not be given because of to security concerns, according to the official. 

Kabul’s international airport is the only way out of the country for those trapped in Afghanistan after the Taliban consolidated power on Sunday. 

There have been 17,000 individuals evacuated since the Taliban took over the country, but efforts have been hampered by chaos and violence en route to the airport as large droves of Americans, other foreign nationals and Afghan people have congested the main roads. 

Footage from the Kabul airport has shown parents in acts of desperation hoisting their babies over the walls to U.S. military personnel to allow them to escape. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Friday he was “aware” of Afghans and Americans who were attempting to travel to the Kabul airport being “harassed or even beaten by the Taliban.”

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Defense for comment.

Tags Afghanistan evacuations ISIS-K Joe Biden Lloyd Austin
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