The presence of U.S. military personnel at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport is “the main cause behind the ongoing misery” at the airport, the Taliban claimed in statements published by Afghanistan’s Khaama Press on Monday.
“Head of the Taliban’s commission for guidance and encouragement, Mullah Amir Khan Motaqi in a voice clip said that entire Afghanistan is secure and no casualty is recorded but the US cannot secure an airport [sic],” the newspaper reported on August 23.
U.S. troops are currently attempting to coordinate an evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan refugees from Kabul via Hamid Karzai International Airport. Taliban attacks have reportedly severely hampered the operation. Reports indicate the terror group is actively working to sabotage the escapes by blocking access to the airport’s entry and exit points and attacking people attempting to approach the area. At least 20 people have died in recent days while trying to push through a thousands-strong mob surrounding Hamid Karzai International Airport. The individuals died in either stampedes or Taliban attacks, according to eyewitnesses.
The mass evacuation of Kabul via the city’s airport follows the Taliban’s seizure of power in the capital city on August 15. The jihadist group ousted Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government from Kabul and declared the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan following a successful, months-long military campaign to retake control of the entire nation.
Taliban leader Mullah Amir Khan Motaqi this week “called the ongoing evacuation by the US illegitimate and asked for an order in Hamid Karzai International Airport [sic],” according to Khaama Press.
Motaqi further claimed that “no one is confined in Afghanistan and everyone who wants to leave Afghanistan will be allowed through a legitimate process and having a visa.”
He also alleged that “the US’s vacation without a visa is a violation of international law [sic].”
The U.S. State Department announced on August 22 that Hamid Karzai International Airport “will remain closed for 48 hours to evacuate those who have already entered the airport and then the operation will be resumed,” Khaama Press reported.
The U.S. and other foreign countries with a diplomatic presence in Kabul reportedly instructed their nationals not to approach the city’s airport on Sunday “as it is almost impossible to push through thousands of people and enter the main gate,” according to the newspaper.
“There is reportedly new guidance planned for those who [in]tend to enter the airport which is said to be with the help of specific taxi drivers who will bring passengers to the gates,” Khaama Press revealed.