“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 embassy announced.
“U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” it added.
The embassy further advised that stranded Americans take the following precautions:
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.
#Afghanistan: 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. https://t.co/InzuVjXhLT pic.twitter.com/6ncsJBEVLu
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) August 25, 2021
“It is something that we are placing paramount priority on stopping or disrupting, and we will do everything that we can for as long as we are on the ground to keep that from happening. But we are taking it absolutely deadly seriously,” he said.
Sullivan added that the threat from ISIS is “real, it is acute, it is persistent, and it is something that we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal.”
“Our commanders on the ground have a wide variety of capabilities that they are using to defend the airfield against a potential terrorist attack. We are working hard with our intelligence community to try to isolate and determine where an attack might come from,” he added.
As the threat of a potential terror attack on Kabul airport looms, the U.S. military has been forced to provide new ways to transport evacuees to the airport. According to The Guardian, more than 10,000 people remain at Kabul airport waiting to be evacuated.
On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said it is “very unlikely” evacuations in Afghanistan will be over by August 31 due to the overwhelming number of Americans, Afghan allies, and potential refugees currently stranded in the region amid an increasingly hostile security threat. Less than 24 hours later, President Biden committed to being out by the August 31 deadline after the Taliban would not agree to extend the date any further.
After a surprise visit to Kabul airport, Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) also said it is simply not possible to evacuate everyone by August 31, or even by September 11.
“After talking with commanders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won't get everyone out on time, even by September 11,” the congressmen said in a joint statement.