Schiff: Kabul airport a ‘very attractive target’ for terrorists
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that Kabul airport could be “very attractive target” for terrorists as the U.S. continues to evacuate thousands of people.
Schiff made the comments during a news briefing on Monday following a briefing with officials from the intelligence community. He said the threat to Kabul airport has been a concern of his “for some days now.”
“This has been a concern of mine for some days now — that this would make a very attractive target for ISIS-K or for elements of Al Qaeda,” Schiff said, referring to a branch of ISIS active in Central Asia and South Asia.
He said he was particularly concerned that ISIS forces in Afghanistan could attack U.S. forces and Afghan nationals, and “cause chaos that might prolong the USA in a way that ISIS-K believes might suit their interest.”
Schiff’s comments come as the Biden administration seek to evacuate Americans and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan by Aug. 31. U.S. officials reported that 21,600 people were evacuated from Afghanistan between early Monday and early Tuesday, bringing the total number evacuated to about 58,700.
Videos and photos showed a chaotic scene at Kabul airport as Afghans seek to escape the country. The military had reportedly been forced to find alternative routes to Kabul’s airports amid threats from ISIS.
In a separate news briefing Monday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the agency is “mindful of the threat” that ISIS could pose to security at the airport and has been in communication with Taliban leaders outside of the airport.
“We are also mindful of the threat that ISIS poses and without speaking for the Taliban, it’s I think it’s a safe assumption to assume that they too, are mindful of that threat. I won’t begin to hypothesize what could or could not happen,” Kirby said.