US Embassy warns Americans in Kabul to take shelter, says airport reportedly UNDER FIRE amid hasty evacuation of western missions
The US Embassy in Kabul has warned Americans heading for the city’s airport to shelter in place instead, stating that the airport was “taking fire.” The airport is packed with foreign workers hurrying out of Afghanistan.
“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly, including at the airport,” read a security alert from the embassy on Sunday. “There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing US citizens to shelter in place.”
The embassy had for days been urging Americans in Afghanistan to leave the country, offering them assistance in purchasing plane tickets out. As the Taliban encircled the Afghan capital on Sunday, helicopters ferried embassy staff to the airport, where the US’ diplomatic mission would be rehoused.
American CH-47s over Kabul now, doing shuttle runs between US embassy and airport. pic.twitter.com/jMOcchjT2Y— Kern Hendricks (@kernhendricks) August 15, 2021
The evacuation took place under the protection of thousands of American troops, ordered in by President Joe Biden as the Taliban advanced faster than the US could get its staff out.Also on rt.com ‘Manifestly not Saigon’? WATCH US helicopters evacuate Kabul embassy as Blinken defiantly rejects Vietnam pullout comparisons
Several other nations have also moved their diplomatic corps to the airport, including France, which relocated on Sunday evening.
Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said military aircraft will be sent to Afghanistan tonight to pick up remaining German nationals and Afghan support staff.
“The flights will go from Kabul to a neighboring country, for the subsequent transport to Germany we will provide civilian planes,” Maas told reporters. “A core team of the embassy will stay in Kabul at the airport to continue work there and support further evacuations.”
Another Saigon moment: chaotic scenes at Kabul International Airport. No security. None. pic.twitter.com/6BuXqBTHWk— Saad Mohseni (@saadmohseni) August 15, 2021
For any Americans who failed to make it to the airport already, the future is uncertain. An alternately-worded alert seen by reporters states that “The US Embassy in Afghanistan has suspended consular operations effective immediately.” Americans are warned: “Do not come to the Embassy or airport at this time."
Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul today. Mass exodus. These are the lucky ones. I'm told, we don't want to go but we have no choice, we need to survive and so do our children #Afghanistanpic.twitter.com/YeWVWLRDMe— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) August 14, 2021
“The [US] ambassador has now left the embassy compound and is at the airport, along with the American flag,” CBS News’ David Martin reported around the time of the alert. However, Martin noted that some Americans remain left behind. With the airport their only lifeline to the outside world, and with the Embassy telling them not to travel to the airport, their route out remains unclear.Also on rt.com With Kabul about to surrender to Taliban, NATO & US talk of ‘finding political solution’ & of women’s rights in Afghanistan
US troops are reportedly on the ground keeping the airport open, and video footage taken nearby shows crowds of Afghans, some allegedly freed prisoners, streaming toward the airport, suggesting that many will try to enter the facility to leave the country.
Kabul’s airport is incredibly busy right now, number of C-17s on the ground. Other transport aircraft coming and leaving regularly. pic.twitter.com/xpiTk3tmnI— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 15, 2021
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Sunday evening that he had been in touch with alliance leaders, and that NATO was “helping keep Kabul airport open to facilitate and coordinate evacuations.”
However, a NATO official later told Reuters that all commercial flights from the airport had been suspended, and that only military flights would be permitted.
#SOS: US is using the runway @ the Kabul airport. So flights for citizens are being pushed & potentially cancelled. Just received a msg that my friends flight to Dubai tomorrow is now pushed to Wednesday? Help me get this msg out. Get off the Kabul runway & keep flights moving.— Azita Ghanizada (@AzitaGhanizada) August 15, 2021
I need to understand why there wasn’t a better plan—or any plan?—to get the thousands of women’s rights advocates who were working with the US govt out of Afghanistan before it fell to the Taliban. Many of these women are just sitting at the Kabul airport waiting to be murdered— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) August 15, 2021
I'm hopelessly stuck in Kabul with my wife and child.Like myself, hundreds of other journalists are also stuck here.I have an 11—months old daughter.Please pray for her safety.— Mustafa 47 (@CombatJourno) August 15, 2021
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