Threats against Kabul airport remain “real” and “concrete” as the United States completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday.
“Now we are in a particularly dangerous moment “Kirby told reporters. “The threats are still real, they are active, and in some cases they are very concrete,” he stressed.
Kirby indicated that the evacuation operation at the airport, currently controlled by thousands of US troops, is on high alert after the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) fired five rockets into the area early Monday.
Last week the Afghan branch of the jihadist organization carried out a suicide attack at one of the airport gates with a balance of more than 100 dead, including 13 US soldiers.
And during the weekend, a rocket launched by a US drone it destroyed a car that, according to the Pentagon, was loaded with explosives and that the radical group planned to use it to attack Americans.
American troops in Afghanistan, whose number suddenly increased to 5,800 after the start of the evacuation operation on August 14, were withdrawing before the deadline of the August, 31 established by Democratic President Joe Biden to completely abandon the country, now in the hands of the Taliban, against whom the United States fought for two decades.
Kirby did not provide details on how the final hours of the pull-back will play out, but said that there were extensive discussions with the Taliban to ensure they are safely.
“We have been in communication with the Taliban to ensure that there are no miscalculations no misunderstandings in these final days, “he said.
US Army General Hank Taylor stated that since August 14 more than 122,000 people were evacuated from Kabul, including 5,400 Americans.
USA expect to complete on Tuesday the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.
Taylor added that it will be possible to evacuate US citizens who are still in Afghanistan. until the last minute.
“The goal of the evacuation operation was to help as many people as possible to leave Afghanistan“, he asserted.
The military official noted that the United States investigates reports that several civilians, possibly nine members of the same family, including several children, they also died in the American attack with drones on Sunday.
“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties and we take them very seriously. We continue to assess the situation, “he said.
Regarding the five rockets fired at the airport this Monday, Taylor reported that three of them missed the target, one was shot down by US defense systems and a fifth landed on the airport grounds causing little damage and no injuries. That action was claimed by ISIS.
“The president (…) reconfirmed the order that the commanders redouble their efforts for doing whatever it takes to protect our forces on the ground, “the White House said in a statement.
The return of the Islamist movement of the Taliban to power, from which they were expelled in 2001, unleashed an exodus of afghans terrified trying to flee thanks to a huge airlift led by Washington.