Kabul Evacuation Still Facing ‘Specific, Credible Threats,’ Pentagon Says

U.S. soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division escort evacuees to buses during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021. ( U.S. Marines/Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Handout via Reuters)

During a press briefing Friday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby revealed that the U.S.-led evacuation of Afghanistan still faces “specific, credible threats.

“We still believe there are credible threats. In fact, I would say specific threats and we want to make sure we’re prepared for those…We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts, absolutely, but I won’t get into the specifics of what those are,” he remarked.

According to recent estimates provided to the New York Times by anonymous local health officials on the ground, as many as 170 people, not including 13 U.S. soldiers, were killed and at least 200 were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated outside the airport’s Abbey gate. While two explosions were confirmed Thursday, including one outside the nearby Baron Hotel, Army Major General William “Hank” Taylor revised that number to only one attack Friday.

“I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber. We’re not sure how that report was provided incorrectly,” he said.

The Pentagon also said that it will continue to blow up military equipment at the Kabul airport to prevent it from falling into ISIS hands before the U.S. military withdrawal deadline on August 31. Kirby added that the supplies and weaponry will be “disposed of in a responsible way.”

He also affirmed that as the Taliban conquered cities and provinces, it also took over the Bagram Air Base prison, defeating Afghan forces there. The Taliban subsequently emptied the facility, releasing “thousands” of ISIS-K prisoners into Afghanistan, Kirby added without providing an precise figure.

The prison housed approximately 5,000 inmates of both Taliban and Islamic State group affiliation, Associated Press previously reported. It is suspected that the perpetrators of the attacks Thursday came from this outflow of prisoners.

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