On Monday, the Pentagon released a warning that an “active threat” in Kabul is still in place. The said threat “remains high and remains real.” It also confirmed that U.S. military personnel will still exit Afghanistan in time for President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline.
Over the weekend, the president warned that another terrorist attack in the middle-eastern country is “highly likely” to happen. The Pentagon echoed Biden’s sentiment during Monday’s press briefing.
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, an “active threat in various ways” is still looming, and that they need to be prepared for it.
He added that the U.S. military has and will continue to keep up its ability to protect and “defend ourselves as we complete the retrograde.”
Kirby further stated that they remain to operate under the assumption that they need to be ready for potential threats in the future. He added that the “threat stream” remains to be active, also stating that it is “real” and “still specific.
He mentioned that the threat is still high, but that the U.S. military in Kabul managed to work out a “very carefully coordinated” way of safely completing the exit from Afghanistan.
Reporters asked Kirby to detail the said method. Kirby answered that they are currently in a “particularly dangerous” time. He then denied explaining the method for the safety and security of the people still in Afghanistan.
LIVE: @PentagonPresSec John F. Kirby and deputy director for regional operations and force management for the @TheJointStaff, Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, hold a news briefing at the Pentagon. https://t.co/r30BN34cBS
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) August 30, 2021
Pentagon: Terrorist Threat in Kabul Remains High But U.S. Exit Will Proceed as Planned
According to U.S. defense officials, as reported by Fox News, Biden’s deadline for the Afghanistan exit is 3:29 p.m. EST (11:59 p.m. local time in Kabul) on Tuesday, Aug. 31. After that, no U.S. troops will be in the said middle-eastern country for the first time in almost 20 years.
Per the White House, on Sunday, approximately 1,200 people had already been evacuated from Kabul via 26 U.S. military flights. Meanwhile, 2 coalition flights carried 50 people.
On Monday, the White House also said that since Aug. 14, which was the start of the mission, the U.S. managed to facilitate the evacuation of around 116,700 individuals. Also, since the end of July, the U.S. had managed to relocate around 122,300 people from the middle-eastern country.
Biden had authorized 6,000 U.S. servicemen to go to Afghanistan to assist in evacuating the people there. This comes as the Taliban continues their effort to restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was the formal name of the middle-eastern country when the Taliban ruled it prior to their ousting of U.S.-led forces following the 9/11 attacks. The said terror attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, had been orchestrated by al Qaeda when the Taliban sheltered the group in Afghanistan.
On Monday, the Pentagon did not reveal the current number of U.S. servicemen on the ground. However, it maintained that the exit of troops would happen as planned.
With regards to the Kabul international airport – the venue where the U.S. military has been conducting evacuation efforts for Americans and Afghan allies – the Pentagon revealed that it would continue to operate “through our final flights.”
After the exit, Kirby pointed to the State Secretary’s statement, which was signed by around 100 countries, the NATO and the EU. Released last week, the statement revealed that the Taliban issued “assurances” that people with valid travel papers will still be able to leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed that they will allow normal travel after U.S. servicemen all exit the country by Tuesday, which is when the group will assume control of the airport.