U.S. Embassy in Kabul warns Americans to avoid airport over threats

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul sent out an alert Wednesday evening advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the capital city’s airport.

“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens 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 security alert read. 

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

The embassy warned Americans to be aware of their surroundings at all times, follow the instructions of local authorities, have contingency plans in case of emergencies, monitor local media and follow the State Department on social media.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the advisory.

Earlier Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there may be up to 1,500 Americans who still want to leave the country as part of the massive evacuation effort by the Biden administration in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover.

The administration has ramped up the pace of evacuations of U.S. citizens and at-risk Afghans from Kabul in recent days, with the U.S. evacuating roughly 82,300 people on U.S. military and coalition flights from Kabul since August 14, the White House said Wednesday. But there are still more than 10,000 people at the Kabul airport waiting to leave, Army Major General Hank Taylor said Wednesday. 

President Biden on Tuesday said that contingency plans to meet his August 31 deadline for withdrawing all remaining U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which will bring an end to the two-decade war there, are being developed. However, that deadline does not signal an end to America’s “involvement” in the country, according to Ross Wilson, the acting U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. 

“We would like for all those who wish to get out of this country to do so and to be able to do so by August 31, especially American citizens,” Wilson told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell in an exclusive interview Wednesday. 

“Our commitment in this country and our involvement in this country doesn’t end on that date. We believe that there will be possibilities for Americans to be able to get out of this country,” he continued. “America’s commitment to American citizens, in particular to our staff, to those who served our country, that isn’t going to end.”