A new threat from the Islamic State’s (ISIS) branch in Afghanistan prompted a new warning from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that urged Americans to not come to the besieged airport in Kabul, officials confirmed to Fox News on Saturday.
“Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the embassy warned on Saturday.
The warning came amid continued chaos at Kabul airport, where thousands of Americans and Afghan allies have been trying to gain access to flights leaving the country — which has quickly fallen to the Taliban ahead of the planned U.S. withdrawal on Aug 31. Officials have acknowledged that a “small number” of Americans and Afghans have been beaten or harassed by Taliban fighters as they try to get to the airport.
So far, 17,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14, 2,500 of whom are Americans. There are now approximately 5,800 U.S. troops on the ground guarding the airport. Officials, speaking to reporters on Saturday, emphasized that the “airport remains secure” and that the military has maintained gate security.
Pentagon officials would not comment on the nature of the possible threat at a press conference on Saturday, but officials told Fox that it was a threat from ISIS that triggered the warning. The ISIS threat was first reported by The Associated Press.