US officials declined to provide more specifics about the Daesh threat but described it as significant. The US Embassy warned citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a US government representative.
Potential Daesh threats against Americans in Afghanistan are forcing the US military to develop new ways to get evacuees to the airport in Kabul, a senior US official said, adding a new complication to the already chaotic efforts to get people out of the country after its swift fall to the Taliban.
The official said that small groups of Americans and possibly other civilians will be given specific instructions on what to do, including movement to transit points where they can be gathered up by the military. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.
The changes come as the US Embassy issued a new security warning Saturday telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a US government representative. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the Daesh threat but described it as significant. They said there have been no confirmed attacks as yet.
Daesh in Afghanistan
The Daesh group, which has long declared a desire to attack America and US interests abroad, has been active in Afghanistan for a number of years, carrying out waves of horrific attacks, mostly on the Shiite minority.
The group has been repeatedly targeted by US air strikes in recent years, as well as Taliban attacks. But officials say fragments of the group are still active in Afghanistan, and the US is concerned about it reconstituting in a larger way as the country comes under divisive Taliban rule.
Biden may compel airlines to carry evacuees
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration has told US airlines they could be ordered to help ferry people who have been evacuated from Afghanistan, two officials said.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a “warning order” was issued to carriers on Friday telling the companies they could be used, but no decision had been made. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The official said the civilian aircraft would not fly into Afghanistan, but would instead ferry evacuees from air bases in locations including the Middle East and Germany.
UK says China, Russia needed for ‘moderating influence’ over Taliban
Britain would have to turn to Russia and China to exercise a “moderating influence” over the Taliban, despite a mistrust between the UK and those governments, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
“We’re going to have to bring in countries with a potentially moderating influence like Russia and China, however uncomfortable that is,” Raab told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
British forces have evacuated 3,821 people from Kabul since August 13, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence, including 1,323 who have made it to the UK. This includes embassy staff, British nationals, and those eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme.
‘Abandonment of Afghanistan’
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said late on Saturday that the “abandonment” of Afghanistan was “tragic, dangerous, unnecessary, not in their interests and not in ours.”
The former prime minister, who sent British troops into Afghanistan in 2001, said the decision to withdraw was driven “not by grand strategy but by politics”.
Blair added that Britain had serious reflection to do after what he described as “little or no consultation” by the United States in the decision to pull out from Afghanistan.
“We (Britain) are at risk of relegation to the second division of global powers. Maybe we don’t mind. But we should at least take the decision deliberatively,” Blair wrote in an article published on Saturday.