March 5, 2024

U.S. Marines prepare to receive evacuees who arrive at an evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 19, 2021.

Sgt. Victor Mancilla | US Marine Corps | via Reuters

US Defense officials say the military is looking for alternative ways to get Americans, Afghans and third-country nationals safely to the airport in Kabul after threats from the Islamic State, according to a report by NBC News.

Two defense officials told NBC News that they are tracking specific ISIS threats against Kabul airport and those trying to get into the airport. This would develop alternative ways to get people into the evacuation zone, officials said.

“We’re doing an alternate route,” a defense official told NBC News. This also includes collecting smaller groups of people at certain locations and then taking them to the airport at intervals. The aim is to get you safely to your destination and to make it easier for smaller groups of people to pass through the gate quickly.

The ISIS threat emerges when President Joe Biden and his administration see criticism of their handling of the entire evacuation from Afghanistan.

The withdrawal, announced by Biden earlier this year, has been ravaged by several controversies, including people raving about the airport and making it nearly impossible to get even a few out of the country with the right documents.

The US embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday warned American citizens not to travel to the airport “because of possible security threats at the gates of Kabul airport”.

A White House official told the press pool on Saturday that six U.S. military C-17s and 32 charter planes had left Kabul in the past 24 hours. The total number of passengers for these 38 flights is approximately 3,800. The White House official says the US has evacuated approximately 17,000 people since Aug. 14.

A White House official also told the press pool that Biden met with his national security advisors on Saturday morning. These discussions focused on the current security situation and counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, including issues related to IS. The large-scale evacuation had also been discussed, said the White House.