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US troops in final phase of pulling out, Taliban ready to takeover Kabul airport

US troops in final phase of pulling out, Taliban ready to takeover Kabul airport

The U.S. troops are in the final phase of leaving Kabul as the last batch of 1,000 civilians at the airport will be evacuated today after which the troops will start flying out, Reuters cited a Western security official as saying on Sunday.

The Taliban is ready to take control of the airport and a leader of the Islamist group told Reuters that they have engineers and technicians who can take charge of running the airport.

"We are waiting for the final nod from the Americans to secure full control over Kabul airport as both sides aim for a swift handover," the official said on condition of anonymity.

“We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over,” said the official, who is stationed at Kabul airport.

Also read:  Biden warns of another terror attack at Kabul airport as US troops start pulling out

The Western security official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters a date and time for the end of the operation was yet to be decided.

President Joe Biden has said he will stick by his deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Tuesday.

The United States and allies have now evacuated a colossal 113,500 from Afghanistan since August 14.

However, with the focus now shifting to evacuating military equipment and personnel, the number of civilians that can be accommodated on these flights has come down. The worst fears of the NATO allies that thousands may be left behind if Biden sticks to the August 31 deadline appear to be coming true.

Some US troops have already left and the number has come down from 5,800 earlier to 4,000, according to a Reuters report on Saturday. 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the withdrawal of troops had begun at a press briefing in Washington but refused to disclose any numbers.

Crowds at the airport gates are reported to have thinned after a warning from the U.S. government of another attack by militants following the suicide bombing outside the airport on Thursday.

The NATO allies have already completed their evacuation from Afghanistan ahead of the August 31 deadline. The UK’s evacuation concluded on Saturday night with the departure of Britain’s final military and diplomatic personnel from, bringing to an abrupt end to the 20-year deployment. More than 15,000 people have been brought out of the country in the last fortnight, in what ministers described as the largest UK military evacuation since the second world war.

France, Germany and the other European countries completed their evacuation earlier.