Defense

Britain tells citizens to avoid Kabul airport, citing ‘high threat’ of terrorist attack

Paratroopers with the XVIII Airborne Corp assist in the evacuation of non-combatants
Getty Images

The British government on Wednesday told its citizens in Afghanistan to avoid Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport due to “an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack.”

Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in an updated alert on its website that the “security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile.” 

“There is an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack,” the agency added. “Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport.” 

The government said that anyone “in the area of the airport” should “move away to a safe location and await further advice.” 

The British government, which has suspended “all non-essential operations at the British Embassy” following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, has been working to evacuate its citizens and Afghan allies still in the country. 

According to The Associated Press, British military flights have transported more than 11,000 people out of Kabul, including 7,000 Afghan civilians. 

It is not clear how many British citizens are still in Afghanistan as of Wednesday. 

The alert comes amid growing concerns of terrorist and other security threats facing foreigners and Afghan civilians attempting to flee Afghanistan following the Taliban’s consolidation of power. 

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has instructed Americans and Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas to travel to the capital city’s airport only once they receive instructions to do so. 

Multiple media reports over the weekend also noted that the U.S. military had been forced to find alternative routes to the airport amid terror threats from ISIS-K, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a news briefing Monday that the Kabul airport would be a “very attractive target” for terrorists amid the ongoing evaluations by the U.S. and other countries. 

However, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby noted in a separate press briefing Monday that the agency was “mindful of the threat” that ISIS could pose and was in communication with Taliban leaders outside the airport. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the U.S. had evacuated a total of 82,300 people since Aug. 14, a day before the Taliban completed its takeover of Afghanistan. 

He also said that roughly 1,500 American citizens were still in Afghanistan waiting to be evacuated ahead of President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline for a complete withdrawal. 

Tags Adam Schiff afghan evacuations Afghanistan Afghanistan collapse Antony Blinken Britain Joe Biden security threat Taliban takeover The Associated Press
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