Europe gives dire warning as Kabul evacuation deadline looms
European nations offered stark warnings on Thursday about the waning days of a massive airlift to bring people out of Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, with a British official saying an imminent attack could target Kabul's international airport. France said it would halt its evacuations on Friday while Denmark said its last flight had already left Kabul's airport.
Very credible reporting of imminent attack: British Armed Forces Minister
Overnight, new warnings emerged from Western capitals about a possible threat from Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate, which likely has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban freeing prisoners across the country. British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC on Thursday, "There was very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack at the airport."
France is halting evacuations from tomorrow
Heappey conceded that people are desperate to leave and there's an appetite by many in the queue to take their chances, but the reporting of this threat is very credible. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that from tomorrow evening, we will be unable to evacuate people from Kabul due to the August 31 American withdrawal deadline.
'No longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul'
US President Joe Biden had said he's sticking to the August 31 withdrawal deadline. "The sooner we can finish, the better," Biden said, citing a growing risk of terror attacks. Meanwhile, Danish defense minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned, "It is no longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul. Denmark's last flight, carrying 90 people plus soldiers and diplomats, already had left Kabul."
Taliban have strengthened access and control around Kabul airport: Pentagon
Earlier, the Pentagon had said that the Taliban have strengthened their measures of access and control around the Kabul airport. The Hamid Karzai International Airport is the only access point for the international community to reach out to people in Afghanistan. "The Taliban bolstered their own security at their checkpoints and have gotten involved in crowd control," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.