United States President Joe Biden on Saturday promised further strikes against the ISIL-affiliate in Afghanistan in retaliation for a deadly bombing outside Kabul airport, while describing the situation on the ground continued to be “extremely dangerous.”
“Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritise force protection,” Biden said in a statement.
Thursday’s bombing killed at least 175 people, including 13 US service members, claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K).
The US military on Saturday said it killed two members of the group in a drone strike on the group’s eastern stronghold.
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The UN Refugee Agency is hoping that Afghanistan’s neighbors such as Pakistan and Iran will keep their borders open to accommodate incoming Afghan refugees.
“We hope that those neighbors will keep their borders open for those who need international protection and in the eventuality of significant numbers, moving over the borders,” Matthew Saltmarsh told Al Jazeera from London.
“There would then have to obviously be a structured form of accommodation initially that’s usually how things work in an emergency situation. But if the needs will be huge, there’ll be a need for big humanitarian flows of aid, obviously food, shelter, medical support and day to day items that will be required, he added.
“So, if there are large flows yes there will need to be a big logistical operation, but we’re not at that stage yet.”
Hundreds of Afghan protest in Athens
Afghans in Athens marched to the US Embassy, making a plea to the international community for peace and holding banners reading, “Afghanistan is bleeding” and “hands off our land.”
Following the Taliban’s takeover of the country earlier this month, U.S. troops have begun their withdrawal from Kabul airport, after a two-week scramble by Washington and its allies to fly out their nationals and vulnerable Afghans by a Tuesday deadline set by President Joe Biden.
As it neared the end of a 20-year military engagement in the country, the United States said it had killed two Islamic State militants planning attacks in Afghanistan, following a deadly suicide bombing outside Kabul airport.
“We are tired of war, we are tired of violence, we are tired of seeing dead bodies. We all came here together, we want peace from the world, we want to end this war,” said Omey Naziam, 24, who joined the peaceful protest in the Greek capital.
Other protesters shouted, “stop killing Afghans” and “we want justice.”
Ukraine evacuates 400 people
The Ukrainian government evacuated around 400 people from Afghanistan, including 80 Ukrainian citizens.
One military and another civilian aircraft landed at Boryspil airport near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and another civilian aircraft is expected later on Saturday, officials said.
Evacuees praised the Ukrainian authorities in a press conference at the airport, saying that they had saved their families.
New attack on Kabul airport ‘highly likely’: Biden
US President Joe Biden promised further strikes against the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) in retaliation for a deadly bombing outside Kabul airport and warned that the situation on the ground continued to be “extremely dangerous”, including threats to Kabul airport.
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
France in talks with Taliban over evacuations
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that discussions were under way with the Taliban through Qatar to “protect and repatriate” Afghans at risk since this month’s takeover by the group.
Evacuations are planned jointly with Qatar and may involve “airlift operations”, Macron said at a news conference after a summit in Baghdad.
He added that France, which ended its evacuations from Afghanistan on Friday, had evacuated 2,834 people since August 17.