The United States warned crowds trying to access Kabul airport to leave the area, as Britain and Australia mentioned the “great threat” of a terrorist attack.
A series of nearly identical travel advisories from London, Canberra, and Washington on Wednesday night urged people gathered in the area to evacuate and move to safety.
Thousands of fearful Afghans and foreigners have surrounded Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport for days, hoping to flee Taliban rule. Security warnings about the airport were particular.
“Those at Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate should now leave immediately,” the US State Department said, citing unspecified “security threats.”
Australia’s foreign affairs department said a “very high and continuing threat of terrorist attack.”
“Please do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you are in the airport area, move to a safe place and wait for more advice.”
London issued a similar warning, adding, “if you can leave Afghanistan safely by other means, you must do so immediately.” Washington and its allies have taken thousands of Afghans out of the airport in substantial military transports every day. Still, it has become an increasingly desperate and challenging task.
Some evacuation flights are already wrapping up and scheduled to end on August 31, leaving many clamoring for ways out of the country.
Crowds, including distraught families, have tried to access the airport, surrounded by Western military checkpoints and the Taliban. At least eight people have died in the chaos at the airport.
Many Afghans fear that the Taliban will repeat their brutal Islamist rule, which ended in 2001.Washington said the Taliban had ensured that Americans, Afghans “at-risk,” and people from other nations would be allowed to leave even after Tuesday’s deadline for the departure of US troops.
“They have a responsibility to fulfill that commitment and provide a safe passage to anyone who wishes to leave the country,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters. But Afghanistan is awash with other jihadist groups, including the Islamic State group.
Belgium said on Wednesday it had completed its evacuation operation after removing its citizens and others from the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Afghans seeking asylum in those countries.