European Allies Halt Evacuations from Kabul amid Suicide Terror Threats

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force Airmen guides evacuees aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP)
Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP

European allies on Thursday halted evacuations amid suicide terror threats at the Kabul airport, the New York Times reported.

“Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark all said that they would no longer be able to facilitate airlifts from the Hamid Karzai International Airport, which has both civilian and military sections,” the Times reported.

After warnings of suicide attacks Wednesday and the U.S. embassy Kabul alert that Americans should shelter in place outside the airport, “Belgium decided to end its evacuation flights from Kabul on Wednesday night,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a news conference Thursday morning.

“On Wednesday, during the day, the situation quickly got worse,” De Croo explained. “We learned that there was a threat of suicide-bomb attacks in the vicinity of the airport and in the crowds. We also saw that access to the airport gates became more difficult and even impossible as a result.”

Both the Netherlands Denmark’s defense ministries advised their military would no longer be able to assist America in extractions due to the “rapidly deteriorating situation” while other nations like Australia look to wind back their rescue flights inside the next 24 hours.

Afghan families board the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, prior to departing from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (SGT Glen McCarthy/Australian Department of Defence via Getty Images)

The end of Europe’s assistance to President Joe Biden’s deadly evacuation came after the U.S. embassy Kabul announced on Wednesday pinpointed  “security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport,” advising Americans “to avoid traveling 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.”

The following precautions were noted in the alert:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to curfews.
  • Have a contingency plan for emergencies and review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

As of Wednesday, 4,100 Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan, many not in or around Kabul, a Senate aide told CNN.

Another 4,400 U.S. citizens and their families have been evacuated out of Afghanistan. The Pentagon stated Wednesday nearly 10,000 people are waiting at Hamid Karzai International Airport for a flight. The Taliban-enforced evacuation deadline is in four days.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø 

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