The gates of the airport in Kabul are reportedly being “welded shut,” according to a reporter with the Military Times.
Reporter Howard Altman wrote on Twitter that “Our sources on the ground tell us gates are being welded shut.”
Our sources on the ground tell us gates are being welded shut. https://t.co/Fj9u5Up9b4
— Howard Altman (@haltman) August 26, 2021
Altman’s report follows a similar tweet from The Washington Post’s Liz Sly, who said earlier Thursday morning: “The Kabul airport attack has nixed hopes of evacuation for the last thousands still hoping to make it out. Am hearing the US military is sealing shut the airport gates. The casualty numbers are growing by the minute. A tragedy piled on a tragedy.”
Sly added that evacuations are still ongoing inside the airport, but anyone who is still outside may be stranded.
“To be clear, evacuations of those inside the airport will continue. But I am trying to get people out and am told no one who is not already inside will now be admitted. There are thousands who have been been [sic] unable to reach the airport,” Sly said.
To be clear, evacuations of those inside the airport will continue. But I am trying to get people out and am told no one who is not already inside will now be admitted. There are thousands who have been been unable to reach the airport.
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) August 26, 2021
Earlier in the day, Politico’s Andrew Desiderio reported that NATO troops had been ordered to leave the airport gates “immediately,” though it was unclear where they would go.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby sent out a statement noting that “a number of U.S. services members” were killed in the multiple attacks that occurred near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The Wall Street Journal reported that four U.S. Marines were killed as well as at least 13 Afghans. A New York Times reporter posted on Twitter that “At least 40 dead bodies and 120 wounded transferred to Kabul hospitals, with 60% of wounded in the critical condition.”
After the Pentagon statement, Fox News’ Bret Bair reported that “At least 10 US service members have been killed outside the airport in Kabul.”
President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday touted its withdrawal of around 95,700 people from Afghanistan, including about 13,400 in the 24-hour period ending at 3 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that about 1,500 American citizens are still in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, according to the Journal, though the U.S. is currently in touch with about 500 of them and trying to get them evacuated.
Those remaining in Afghanistan are reportedly afraid that they will be abandoned, leaving them at the mercy of the Taliban, the terrorist organization that took over the country within a matter of days. From the Journal:
Bismillah, a green-card holder residing in Sacramento, Calif., said he traveled to the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif to visit his parents on Aug. 3 with his wife, also a U.S. permanent resident, and their 8-month-old son, a U.S. citizen. The family made their way to Kabul as the Afghan government collapsed on Aug. 15, but Bismillah, who declined to provide his last name, said he feared that his baby would be crushed to death in the crowds and didn’t try to reach the airport.
“I feel like we are going to be left behind. I don’t know what is going to happen next week—you cannot forecast even one day about what will happen in Afghanistan,” said Bismillah, who worked for Amazon.com Inc. in California and is currently in Mazar-e-Sharif. “We are really worried about ourselves.”
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