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UK Warns Citizens to Avoid Kabul Airport

The UK Foreign Office has advised its citizens to “move away to a safe location and await further advice”, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Noting that the security situation in Afghanistan remains ‘volatile’, the United Kingdom has advised its citizens to not visit Kabul airport and move away to a “safe location and await further advice”.

In a statement on late Wednesday, the UK foreign office said travelling by road in Afghanistan is currently extremely dangerous.

“The security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile. There is an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attacks. Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. If you are in the area of the airport, move away to a safe location and await further advice,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on late Wednesday.

“Commercial flights are not currently operating. If you can leave Afghanistan safely by other means, you should do so immediately,” the Foreign Office concluded.

The new advisory comes as the Taliban has said they have blocked the road to the Kabul airport and will not allow anyone except foreign citizens to pass.

This also comes as the foreign troops’ withdrawal deadline is approaching. US President Joe Biden recently made it clear that the US is sticking to the 31 August deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Earlier, several countries have urged the US to extend its deadline for troops drawdown as several foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans are still stuck in the war-ravaged country.

The UK Ministry of Defence said that more than 11,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan by London.

“Latest numbers from Operation PITTING: – 11, 474 people have been evacuated by the UK since 13 August; – 6946 of those people are Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy claimants,” the ministry wrote on its Twitter page on late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has told MPs that some Afghans wanting to flee to Britain may be better off trying to reach one of the country’s borders and making their way to a third country, the BBC reported.

Speaking in an online meeting, Mr Wallace is reported to have signalled there were few places left on evacuation flights and said “not everyone is going to get out”.

Meanwhile, the US state department on Wednesday sent out an alert advising its citizens to avoid travelling to the Kabul airport.

“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” a security alert from the US Embassy in Kabul said on Wednesday.

“U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”

However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that Taliban has committed to ensuring safe passage for Americans and at-risk Afghans to leave the war-torn country after the August 31 US withdrawal deadline.

Speaking at a press briefing, Blinken said: “The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third-country nationals, and Afghans at risk going forward past August 31.”

“The United States, our allies and partners, and more than half of the world’s countries 114 at all issued a statement, making it clear the Taliban that they have a responsibility to hold to that commitment and provide safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave the country, not just for the duration of our evacuation relocation mission, but for every day thereafter,” he added.

Blinken also said that there is ‘no deadline’ on helping US citizens and Afghan nationals ‘who stood by us’ to leave Afghanistan after August 31.

“There is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years, and want to leave, and have been unable to do so. That effort will continue, every day, past August 31.” he said.

“Approximately, 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 US military and coalition flights, only the United States could organize and execute a mission to this scale,” Blinken added.

“We’re operating in a hostile environment in the city and country now controlled by the Taliban, with the very real possibility of an ISIS key attack. We’re taking every precaution. But this is very high risk.” he also said.

Meanwhile, US has evacuated 4500 out of 6000 American citizens identified in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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