Tuesday, November 30

US warns that worst of Kabul evacuation “is yet to come”

The attempt suicide that shook one of the entrances to the airport of Acceptance It left almost 200 dead and a greater number of wounded, according to the update provided by the Afghan authorities yesterday: at least 170 civilian deaths – including two with British nationality – and thirteen US military personnel. Despite this tremendous bill, the worst could be yet to come, as the Government of EE.UU.

The president of the country, Joe Biden, was informed by his national security team, which includes military and diplomats on the ground, that “another terrorist attack in Kabul is likely” and that “the next days of the mission will be the most dangerous to date”, according to a shared statement

by the spokesperson of the White House, Jen Psaki. Those next days are four, the ones that remain until the deadline ends – demanded by the taliban and that Biden has stood firm in his compliance – August 31st for the withdrawal of all US troops from the country.

During that time, the United States will combine the withdrawal of troops with evacuation efforts, the Pentagon reported on Friday. “Our plan continues to be to end the mission at the end of the month,” the Defense Department spokesman reiterated. John Kirby. “We will continue to remove evacuees until the last day,” he added.

Still more than 5,000 military

The U.S. still maintains more than 5,000 troops in the airport Kabul, almost the entire deployment that Biden ordered to execute the evacuation, and that number will decrease in the coming days until the end of the operation. Kirby warned, however, that no information will be released on the number of troops remaining in Kabul for the next few days.

In the 24 hours before Friday morning they left Kabul airport 12,500 peopleGeneral William ‘Hank’ Taylor detailed. Of these, 8,500 did so on flights operated by the US military and the rest on planes from other allied countries.

It is a number much lower than the more than 20,000 that left in a single day at the beginning of the week and shows the problems for Afghans who collaborated with the US and other allied countries, as well as others who may be at risk. –Activists, journalists, officials– can access the airport.

Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport (Virginia), near Washington DC, after their evacuation from Kabul
Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport (Virginia), near Washington DC, after their evacuation from Kabul – Afp

The closure of accesses, the Taliban controls outside the airport and the terrorist threat make it almost impossible for many. This Friday, despite the fact that the possibility of new attacks was “credible” and “specific”, as recognized by the Pentagon, a crowd was still around the airfield. It was a sign of the desperation of many to get out of the country, with the countdown to the US withdrawal already underway.

The unknown of the day after

What happens after the last US plane leaves Kabul next Tuesday is anyone’s guess. Most countries – including the United Kingdom or Spain – have terminated their evacuation operation.

A Taliban spokesman arrived last night to announce that they had taken control of part of the airport in the Afghan capital, but the Pentagon denied it.

It is clear that there will be tens of thousands of people who want to get out of Afghanistan from the Taliban and will not be able to do so by the end of the deadline. Some estimates by humanitarian organizations put that number at more than 200,000 Afghans who collaborated with the US or who will be at risk under the new Islamist regime.

Washington does not have a clear solution for them. Biden has given clear signals that the US will not stay another minute in Afghanistan and it remains to be seen what mechanisms may be left on the ground to continue the evacuation. “I am not going to speculate about what may happen when this mission ends,” said Kirby, who assured that the government “will use different avenues to help Americans leave after our military presence has ended.”

The Taliban have argued that they want the US and its allies to maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the army’s withdrawal. Washington has not specifically communicated if there will be diplomatic representation as of August 31, but everything indicates that this is not the case. The vast majority of its consular personnel, who have worked in a building inside the airport since the Taliban took over Kabul, will be leaving Afghanistan this weekend. “The president has instructed the secretary of state to continue diplomatic efforts with international partners to ensure that there are ways for third-country nationals and Afghans with visas to leave the country even after the army’s withdrawal,” Psaki said in his statement. One of the possibilities is that Turkey will take operational control of the Kabul airport after the US exit.

There was only one attack

General Taylor also confirmed that there was only one terrorist attack on Thursday, not two, as the US government itself had originally reported. The general described the incident at the Abbey gate at the airport as an ‘attack with a suicide vest“, followed by “shootings from enemy positions. The explosion that was presumed at the Baron hotel, in the vicinity of the airport and where the United Kingdom was processing the departure of Afghans and nationals, did not occur.

Biden again referred to the attack yesterday, from the Oval Office, during the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel, Neftalí Bennett. “It is a mission that is worthwhile,” he said of the evacuation, now under the shadow of great human losses. “We will complete it.”


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