- August 26, 2021
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Afghanistan unrest: Panic engulfs Kabul airport amidst ‘terror threat’ warning
The United States and its allies have urged people to move away from Kabul airport due to the threat of an attack by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group as Western troops hurry to evacuate as many people as possible before an August 31 deadline.
In the 11 days since the Taliban swept into Kabul, the US and its allies have mounted one of the biggest air evacuations in history, bringing out more than 88,000 people. The US military says planes are taking off the equivalent of every 39 minutes.
Taliban fighters have been guarding the perimeter outside the airport, thronged by thousands of people trying to flee rather than stay in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
According to reports from Kabul, said about 1,500 US passport holders who are meant to be evacuated remained in the capital.
The US and the Taliban have a deal. The Taliban are under strict instructions not to let anyone through without a passport, without a green card, without verified documents and there is confusion about what a verified document looks like.
Meanwhile, there is a mounting humanitarian crisis in the country, with the World Food Programme saying about 14 million people are facing severe hunger in the nation of about 39 million.
The first batch of Turkish troops evacuated from Afghanistan landed in the country’s capital on Thursday, according to flag carrier Turkish Airlines.
The group of 345 Turkish Armed Forces personnel initially travelled from the Afghan capital Kabul to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, via a Turkish Air Force transport plane, then proceeded to Ankara on a Turkish Airlines flight.
Two more evacuation flights are set to take off from Istanbul on Monday, depending on demand, according to the latest reports.
Qatar facilitates evacuation of more than 40,000 people
In coordination with countries and parties on the ground, Qatar has facilitated the evacuation of more than 40,000 people safely from Kabul to Qatar, according to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Most of the evacuees are transiting in Qatar, where they are hosted temporarily for a few days before departing on flights to their onward destinations.
“As an impartial mediator, Qatar has been talking with all parties to facilitate aid and evacuation, while staying informed of the policies and actions taking place on the ground. Qatar will spare no effort in supporting the people of Afghanistan through diplomacy, dialogue, and developmental projects to achieve stability and prosperity,” the statement said.