'Highly lethal' and imminent ISIS car bomb threat forces US to CLOSE Kabul airport to Americans with up to 1.5K still stranded: Evacuation in Afghanistan will END in 36 HOURS - three days before Biden's deadline - and Afghans flee to the Pakistan border

 The US is planning to withdraw from Afghanistan on Saturday morning according to CNN- three days before the Taliban's August 31 deadline, and while hundreds of Americans remain stuck in the country despite Joe Biden's promise that no one would be left behind. 

CNN cited an unnamed source on Thursday who said American troops would leave Kabul '36 hours' after midnight on Wednesday night because the situation is becoming more dangerous on the ground. They had planned to stay until August 31 but are retreating early, along with other nations like Britain, France and Holland, in light of threats from ISIS-K on the ground.

The threat level in Kabul is now so high that US troops, who had been guarding the airport since the Taliban took over on August 14, have now closed all of the gates that they were using to get people in and on to evacuation flights. 

There are hundreds of Afghans gathered at the airport along with foreign nationals and the size of the crowd makes it a ripe target for the Taliban. 

Britain is now telling its citizens that anyone who hasn't yet been able to get out should make a run for the border and seek refuge in Pakistan.  

The US has not told its citizens to go to the border and State Department officials do not even know how many remain in the country, wanting to leave. 

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there were 500 Americans who  had made contact with the government asking for help to get out. He estimated there were another 1,000 who were somewhere in Afghanistan but hadn't yet asked the government for help getting out. 

CNN's source said on Thursday that 200 had been evacuated overnight, bringing the total 500 down significantly. The source estimated that of the 500 Blinken was talking about, there are now only 150 waiting to be evacuated. 

It remains unclear if any more citizens have been able to get in touch with the State Department since Blinken spoke. 

There are still 1,800 Afghans who worked at the US Embassy in Kabul and are waiting to be flown out but the mission is winding down on Friday, the source said.  

'American citizens are still trickling in but their priority has shifted to local staff,' the source said. 

The United States, Britain and Australia told their citizens in the early hours of Thursday to clear the airport over fears of a deadly car bomb blast. The US said that citizens outside three gates in particular should 'leave immediately', while Britain and Australia told anyone near the airport to clear the area entirely. 

The warning was given amid fears extremist group ISIS-K, the Islamic State branch based in Afghanistan, was plotting an attack with multiple car bombs by deploying recently-freed prisoners. 

A US soldier places a 'gate closed' on one of the crowded entrances of Kabul airport as hundreds of desperate Afghans wait to board flights. The US is now working to evacuate everyone they can in the next 36 hours and will then withdraw - two days earlier than the Taliban's 31 deadline

A US soldier places a 'gate closed' on one of the crowded entrances of Kabul airport as hundreds of desperate Afghans wait to board flights. The US is now working to evacuate everyone they can in the next 36 hours and will then withdraw - two days earlier than the Taliban's 31 deadline 

One of three planes chartered by George Abi-Habib, with capacity for 345 people, flew to Uganda on Tuesday almost empty, after U.S. troops blocked access for passengers, Abi-Habib said

One of three planes chartered by George Abi-Habib, with capacity for 345 people, flew to Uganda on Tuesday almost empty, after U.S. troops blocked access for passengers, Abi-Habib said

Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday as the evacuation mission continues

Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday as the evacuation mission continues

Taliban fighters - one armed with a US standard issue M4 assault rifle - stand guard  outside Kabul airport on Wednesday

Taliban fighters - one armed with a US standard issue M4 assault rifle - stand guard  outside Kabul airport on Wednesday

USAF personnel help Afghan refugees to board a C-17 military transport jet at Kabul airport on Tuesday

USAF personnel help Afghan refugees to board a C-17 military transport jet at Kabul airport on Tuesday

It comes as the number of evacuation flights are falling rapidly after Joe Biden held firm to the August 31 deadline, meaning that allied countries have started to shutdown their operations - or finished already.

France said it will stop flying to Kabul on Friday, Poland has already left and Holland is expected to finish today. 

Meanwhile, Britain could stop flying by tonight because the U.S. is cutting short the evacuation operation three days before the deadline to ensure a safe exit.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Wednesday there were up to 1,500 Americans still trapped in Afghanistan and that 500 had been in touch with the government to ask for help getting to the airport. 

Since then, 350 have been evacuated, according to CNN, which leaves just 150 of the 500 the government knows about still waiting to be rescued.    

British armed forces minister James Heappey this morning warned there is 'very credible reporting' of an 'imminent' and 'severe' threat to the airport.

The former British Army Major told LBC radio he had been given 'lines today for what might happen if the attack happened while I was doing this media round.'

Heappey added: 'I don't think everybody should be surprised by this, Daesh, or Islamic State, are guilty of all sorts of evil.

'But the opportunism of wanting to target a major international humanitarian mission is just utterly deplorable but sadly true to form for an organization as barbarous as Daesh.' 

A US Marine holds a child at Kabul airport this week. Evacuations were called off early Thursday over an 'imminent' car bomb threat to the airport

A US Marine holds a child at Kabul airport this week. Evacuations were called off early Thursday over an 'imminent' car bomb threat to the airport

USAF personnel assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron load Afghan refugees at Kabul airport on Tuesday

USAF personnel assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron load Afghan refugees at Kabul airport on Tuesday


The State Department tweeted last night: 'Due to threats outside the Kabul airport, US citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates unless you receive instructions to do so. 

'Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.' 

The order to leave the gates was issued at 3:30am local time in Kabul on Thursday morning. 

It came as a 345-seat evacuation flight organized by a Washington DC-based philanthropist left Kabul Airport almost empty because its intended passengers could not get past the Taliban.

The jet - laid on by George Abi-Habib, co-founder of development firm Sayara International, had just 50 of passengers in its cabin, amid fears terrorists are now plotting a car bomb attack against Kabul's Hamid Karzai Airport. 

One of the passengers had to crawl through a sewage pipe just to make it into the airport, he told The Wall Street Journal

'We can't expect everyone to crawl through a sewer pipe to safety,' Abi-Habib said.

Another of Abi-Habib's 240-seat charter flights heading to Ukraine left with 70 seats empty after U.S. soldiers wouldn't let passengers through to board the aircraft. 

'It's total chaos,' said Warren Binford, a law professor at the University of Colorado who has been working on evacuation efforts. 

'What's happening is that we're seeing a massive underground railroad operation where, instead of running for decades, it's literally running for a matter of hours, or days.' 

CNN reported Thursday that they believe ISIS-K, which is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, wants to create mayhem at the airport and has intelligence streams suggesting it is capable and planning to carry out multiple attacks.  

Analysts told on Wednesday night that the intelligence likely came from intercepted calls, amid fears recently-freed prisoners could mount the attacks.  

Concerns increased after more than 100 prison inmates loyal to the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan escaped from two prisons near Kabul as the Taliban advanced on the Afghan capital. 

Taliban fighters stormed the jails at Bagram and Pul-e-Charkhi, both to the east of Kabul, shortly before the capital city fell.

CNN reported that hundreds of ISIS-K fighters are believed to have been freed.   

Fears are mounting that the Islamic State affiliate in the region, ISIS-K, could try and launch an attack on the crowds masses outside the airport. 

A BBC reporter said there were reports of a potential car bomb attack. 

Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that ISIS-K were believed to be attempting to target departing jets, as he explained why it was unlikely that U.S. forces will remain in the area beyond August 31. 

Up to 1,500 Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan and the U.S. is still relying on the Taliban to allow safe passage to Kabul airport with just six days before the deadline, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Blinken gave his first briefing on the airlift operation and the bid to get all citizens and Afghan allies out amid reports the CIA has joined U.S. troops in helicopter rescue missions outside the airport perimeter. 

Thousands of people are still trying to leave Afghanistan as U.S. troops start leaving and evacuation flights begin to wrap up, but are being stopped and beaten by insurgents on their way.

Among those left are 23 school children from California Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents who visited the war zone on a summer trip to see extended family and haven't been able to leave. 

Erik Prince, founder of controversial private military firm Blackwater, was selling seats on a plane out of Afghanistan for $6,500.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, on Wednesday could barely contain her disgust at what she described as profiteering from 'pain and agony'. She said Prince did not have a soul. 

Blinken blamed Americans still on the ground for not leaving fast enough after first being warned earlier this year to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, but said there would be 'no deadline' in helping those who still want to leave.   

George Abi-Habib, of development firm Saraya, has chartered three planes to get people out of Afghanistan - but the passengers have not been able to board, and the planes flew empty
George Abi-Habib, of development firm Saraya, has chartered three planes to get people out of Afghanistan - but the passengers have not been able to board, and the planes flew empty

A State Department warning telling US citizens to avoid airport gates due to 'threats outside' (left) and George Abi-Habib (right), of development firm Saraya, has chartered three planes to get people out of Afghanistan - but the passengers have not been able to board, and the planes flew empty

Propaganda from ISIS-K shows their militants lining up. The group is known to have sleeper cells in Kabul, and is known to be enthusiastic about terrorist 'spectaculars'

Propaganda from ISIS-K shows their militants lining up. The group is known to have sleeper cells in Kabul, and is known to be enthusiastic about terrorist 'spectaculars'


He spoke as a CIA officer told DailyMail.com that American civilians and Afghan allies have just 72 hours before evacuations end and Biden cracked a joke about the evacuation crisis at a cybersecurity summit.

NBC reporter Peter Alexander asked the president what he would do if there were Americans trapped in Afghanistan after August 31.

The microphone was cut before Biden could reply, but he cracked a smile and said: 'You'll be the first person I call.' 

Blinken said the U.S. has been in 'direct contact' with roughly 500 confirmed U.S. citizens and 'provided specific instructions for how to get to the airport safely.'

The State Department said there are roughly 1,000 other people whose status is still being established.

'We're aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day,' he said of those 1,000 people, adding they're looking 'to determine whether they still want to leave and to get them the most up-to-date information and instructions for them on how to do so.'

'Some may no longer be in the country. Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be. Some may choose to stay,' Blinken said

'We'll continue to try and identify the status and plans of these people in the coming days.' 

A short time later a journalist covering Afghanistan wrote on Twitter that the Taliban blocked all roads leading to Kabul airport.

Only Afghans 'accompanied by foreigners' are reportedly allowed through.

'Taliban refused to let a friend, a dual Afghan-Australian citizen, from entering airport today,' Frud Bezhan wrote. 

Blinken announced Wednesday that up to 1,500 Americans - 500 who are verified US citizens - are still stuck in Afghanistan

Blinken announced Wednesday that up to 1,500 Americans - 500 who are verified US citizens - are still stuck in Afghanistan


About 4,500 U.S. citizens and immediate family members have been evacuated over the last 10 days.

As many as 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were in the country when the Taliban took Kabul last week. 

Biden posted a statement to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon vowing to help people still stuck there but did not provide further explanation.

'We're going to do everything that we can to provide safe evacuation for Americans, our Afghan allies, partners, and Afghans who might be targeted because of their association with the United States,' the president wrote. 

The CIA has joined the U.S. military in evacuation efforts, launching clandestine operations to rescue Americans in and outside of Kabul, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The military's operations have been more limited in comparison, focusing on US citizen trapped within the Afghan capital.

CIA operations include air and ground missions and use U.S. military helicopters under the agency's control.


At least two dozen Americans students and parents are among those still stuck in Kabul. After taking a summer trip to visit grandparents and other extended family, 24 students and 16 parents from the Cajon Valley Union School District are trying to get to the airport with less than a week before the US leaves the country, the LA Times reported. 

Cajon Valley Superintendent David Miyashiro said that officials who work with the school district's FACE program as interpreters and liaisons were contacted by a family concerned its student would lose a seat in the classroom last week when classes began, a local CBS affiliate reports. 

The concern was echoed by several other families who missed their scheduled flights home for the first day of school on August 17. 

The district said they arrived on special U.S. military visas, and states the trip was not school-sanctioned. Officials at the district just outside of San Diego said the students are safe but that it's not certain when they could return home. 

A family of five from the same school district is back in the U.S. after escaping from Afghanistan, 10 News reports. 

Psaki said today she has 'no additional information' on the stranded students when asked and appeared confused at the report. 

'I'm happy to take their information if there's something more detailed,' she said. 

The U.S. has ramped up their airlifts and have evacuated 19,000 people in the last 24 hours and have already started pulling out military forces with just six days until the deadline, which Biden has promised to stick to. 

Desperate Afghan men, women and children have swarmed the airport in a bid to get out amid fears of an attack from the Islamic State offshoot ISIS-K and 10,000 evacuees are inside the gates waiting to get out. 

Hundreds of people gather near an airport evacuation control checkpoint. American civilians and Afghan allies have just 72 hours before evacuations end, a CIA officer told DailyMail.com

Hundreds of people gather near an airport evacuation control checkpoint. American civilians and Afghan allies have just 72 hours before evacuations end, a CIA officer told DailyMail.com

Fears of a stampede toward the airport are concerning officials as the withdrawal winds down and people grow more desperate to flee

Fears of a stampede toward the airport are concerning officials as the withdrawal winds down and people grow more desperate to flee 

American troops and the CIA have been conducting rescue missions to get people stranded outside of the airport to safety

American troops and the CIA have been conducting rescue missions to get people stranded outside of the airport to safety


'It is hard to overstate the complexity and danger of this effort. We are operating in an hostile environment, in a city and country now controlled by the Taliban, with a very real possibility of an ISIS-K attack,' Blinken said Wednesday. 

Asked to take responsibility for the chaos, he responded: 'I take responsibility. I know the president has said he takes responsibility.'

'There will be plenty of time to look back at the last six or seven months, to look back at the last 20 years and to see what we might have done differently,' as well as sooner or more effectively,' he said.

Blinken said right now his 'entire focus is on the mission at hand.'  

It was also revealed that a military operation recovered 'less than 20 people' by helicopter from Kabul under cover of darkness and brought them safely to the airport for evacuation. It comes in addition to two other operations outside the airport walls confirmed by the Pentagon, including a mission to bring 169 Americans 'over the wall' that Biden announced Monday. 

'So last night, during the period of darkness, there was an operation to be able to go out and safely evacuate evacuees back into Kabul. They're at [Hamid Karzai International Airport], and they're safely there preparing to be evacuated,' Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday. 

In a White House briefing the same day Psaki said the administration suspected many of the 1,000 prospective Americans who may be looking to leave are dual-citizens or 'people who may not be ready to leave for a variety of reasons.'

'For many of these Afghans, this is their home. And yes they are dual-citizens, yes it is absolutely our responsibility to make sure we are reaching out to them multiple times. We are providing opportunity, we are finding ways to get them to the airport to evacuate them, but it is also their personal decision on whether they want to depart,' she said.

During the briefing Psaki was asked how the Biden administration will determine whether every American who wants to leave will get to do so by the deadline.

The press secretary clarified that some of those Americans could 'have not yet decided to depart by August 31.'

'We know that is a potential, so therefore we're looking at a range of options for how we can allow them to depart and enable them to depart after that date and time,' she said. 

'Highly lethal' and imminent ISIS car bomb threat forces US to CLOSE Kabul airport to Americans with up to 1.5K still stranded: Evacuation in Afghanistan will END in 36 HOURS - three days before Biden's deadline - and Afghans flee to the Pakistan border 'Highly lethal' and imminent ISIS car bomb threat forces US to CLOSE Kabul airport to Americans with up to 1.5K still stranded: Evacuation in Afghanistan will END in 36 HOURS - three days before Biden's deadline - and Afghans flee to the Pakistan border Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:52 Rating: 5

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