US warns of security threat from IS near Kabul airport - Times of India

US warns of security threat from IS near Kabul airport – Times of India

WASHINGTON: US President Biden is battling a serious loss of personal credibility and political capital after some of his assertions on Afghanistan have been contradicted – by his own administration, by the US military, and by ground realities. Bumbling through a White House press conference on Friday, Biden claimed that the US mission in Afghanistan was essentially over since Osama bin Laden had been killed and al-Qaida was “gone” from the country, but Pentagon officials said soon after that al-Qaida, as well as Islamic State, remain a presence in Afghanistan.
Administration officials later finessed the president’s remarks saying he meant al-Qaida had been degraded to the point where it no longer presented a threat to the homeland, but critics pilloried the president for a verbal overreach to justify the hasty US withdrawal. Biden also suggested that Americans stranded in Afghanistan could get to the Kabul airport for evacuation without much difficulty and Taliban were being cooperative, but ground reports spoke of a hurdles on this front with sporadic attacks on Americans trying to reach the airport.
Panic rose on Saturday, as gates to the Kabul airport were closed off and the US embassy warned US citizens to stay away from the airport, citing “potential security threats outside the gates”. US officials said the most serious current threat is that Afghanistan’s Islamic State branch would attempt an attack that would both hurt the Americans and damage the Taliban’s sense of control. But it was unclear how capable IS, which has battled the Taliban, is of such an attack, the officials said. The alert instructed Americans still marooned in Kabul not to travel to the airport “unless you receive individual instructions from a US representative to do so”.
(With inputs from NYT)

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