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US tells its citizens to avoid travelling to Kabul airport due to ‘potential security threats’ outside gates

US advisory told its citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates

In a security alert issued Saturday evening, the United States embassy in Kabul has advised its citizens in Afghanistan to "avoid traveling" to the Hamid Karzai International Airport because of "potential security threats" outside the airport gates.

"Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative to do so," the alert mentioned.

It further said that the concerned officials will contact registered US citizens as the security situation changes to provide further instructions.

On Friday, the US diplomatic mission had warned its citizens stuck in Afghanistan that it cannot ensure a safe passage for them to the airport even as the government-provided flights will continue until the evacuation operation is complete.

The embassy had said that US citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and their spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) should consider travelling to the Kabul airport when they judge it is safe to do so. It had also advised them to be aware of the potential for violence and security threats associated with large crowds at the airport and have a contingency plan in place for emergencies. 

"We are processing people at multiple gates. Due to large crowds and security concerns, gates may open or close without notice. Please use your best judgment and attempt to enter the airport at any gate that is open," Friday's alert message detailed.

On Thursday, the US military had sent three helicopters to airlift 169 Americans from a hotel just a couple of hundred metres away. 

"We got over the wall into the airport using military assets," US President Joe Biden said in his speech on the evacuation process on Friday.

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