The US has warned more terrorist attacks on Kabul airport are “highly likely” as the American evacuation nears its close.
The State Department called the threat “specific” and “credible”, urging people to get out of the area around the airport.
Meanwhile, President Biden vowed to continue air strikes against Isis-K, whose suicide bombing last Thursday at the airport killed scores of Afghans and 13 American service members.
The Pentagon said the remaining contingent of US forces at the airport, now numbering fewer than 4,000, had begun their final withdrawal ahead of Biden’s deadline for ending the evacuation on August 31.
After being briefed on a US drone mission in eastern Afghanistan that the Pentagon claimed killed two members of the so-called Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate, Mr Biden said the extremists could expect more.
“This strike was not the last,” the president said. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”
President Joe Biden had vowed to hunt down those responsible for the suicide blast at Kabul airport
He paid tribute to the “bravery and selflessness” of the American troops executing the hurried airlift of tens of thousands from Kabul airport, including the 13 US service members who were killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing.
The evacuation proceeded as tensions rose over the prospect of another attack by IS.
“Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Mr Biden said, adding that he has instructed them to take all possible measures to protect their troops, who are securing the airport and helping to bring in Americans and others desperate to escape Taliban rule.
The remains of the 13 troops killed in the suicide bombing were last night on their way to the United States, the Pentagon said.
Their voyage marked a painful moment in a nearly 20-year war that cost more than 2,400 US military lives and is ending with the return to power of a Taliban movement that was ousted when US forces invaded in October 2001.
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