(KABUL) Evacuation Report: Western nations warned Thursday of a possible attack on capitals airport, where thousands have flocked as they try to flee Afghanistan in the waning days of a massive airlift. Britain said an attack could come within hours #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.26: Several countries urged people to avoid the airport, where Belgium said there was a threat of a suicide bombing. But with just days left before the evacuation effort ends and American troops withdraw, few appeared to heed the call.

#AceDailyNews says the west warns of possible attack by #IslamicState Khorasan at Kabul airport amid airlift and advises all those to leave and take shelter away from the area

Kabul
AP via CP24

Over the last week, the airport has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban’s takeover, as flight after flight landed to pull out those who fear a return to the militants’ brutal rule.

Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the beginning of the end of one of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban have so far honored a pledge not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but insist the foreign troops must be out by America’s self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31.

But overnight, new warnings emerged from Western capitals about a threat from Afghanistan’s Islamic State group affiliate, which likely has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during their blitz across the country.

British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC on Thursday there was ”very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” at the airport, possibly within “hours.”

Heappey conceded that people are desperate to leave and “there is an appetite by many in the queue to take their chances, but the reporting of this threat is very credible indeed and there is a real imminence to it.”

“There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice again and process people anew, but there’s no guarantee of that,” he added.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately due to an unspecified security threat. Australia, Britain and New Zealand also advised their citizens Thursday not to go to the airport, with Australia’s foreign minister saying there was a “very high threat of a terrorist attack.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any attack was imminent. “It’s not correct,” he wrote in a text message after being asked about the warnings. He did not elaborate.

On Thursday, the Taliban sprayed a water cannon at those gathered at one airport gate to try to drive the crowd away, as someone launched tear gas canisters elsewhere. While some fled, others just sat on the ground, covered their face and waited in the noxious fumes.

Nadia, a 27-year-old Afghan woman who gave only her first name for fear of reprisals, carried her 2-year-old daughter with her outside the airport, braving the chaos. She and her husband, who had worked with coalition forces, missed a call from a number they believed was the State Department and were trying to get into the airport without any luck. Her husband had pressed ahead in the crowd to try and get them inside.

“We have to find a way to evacuate because our lives are in danger,” Nadia said. “My husband received several threatening messages from unknown sources. We have no chance except escaping.”

Many Afghans have felt the same in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover. The hard-line Islamic group wrested back control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a U.S.-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida orchestrated while being sheltered by the group.

Amid concerns about attacks, military cargo planes leaving Kabul airport already use flares to disrupt any potential missile fire. But there are also worries someone could detonate explosives in the teeming crowds outside the airport.

“We received information at the military level from the United States, but also from other countries, that there were indications that there was a threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, talking about the threat around Kabul airport.

Senior U.S. officials said Wednesday’s warning from the embassy was related to specific threats involving the Islamic State group and potential vehicle bombs. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing military operations.

The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan grew out of disaffected Taliban members who hold an even-more extreme view of Islam. Naming themselves after Khorasan, a historic name for the greater region, the extremists embarked on a series of brutal attacks in Afghanistan that included a 2020 assault on a maternity hospital in Kabul that saw infants and women killed.

The Taliban have fought against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. However, their advance across the country likely saw IS fighters freed alongside the Taliban’s own. There are particular concerns that extremists may have seized heavy weapons and equipment abandoned by Afghan troops who fled the Taliban advance.

Amid the warnings and the pending American withdrawal, some European nations said they would have to end their evacuations.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL radio said his country’s efforts would end Friday evening due to the U.S. pullout.

Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned: “It is no longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul.”

Denmark’s last flight has already departed, and Poland and Belgium have also announced the end of their evacuations. The Dutch government said it had been told by the U.S. to leave Thursday.

The Taliban have said they’ll allow Afghans to leave via commercial flights after the deadline next week, but it remains unclear which airlines would return to an airport controlled by the militants. Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said talks were underway between his country and the Taliban about allowing Turkish civilian experts to help run the facility.

The Taliban have promised to return Afghanistan to security and pledged they won’t seek revenge on those who opposed them or roll back progress on human rights. But many Afghans are skeptical.

Fueling fears of what Taliban rule might hold, a journalist from private broadcaster Tolo News described being beaten by Taliban. Ziar Yad said the fighters also beat his colleague and confiscated their cameras, technical equipment and a mobile phone as they tried to report on poverty in Kabul.

“The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression,” Yad wrote on Twitter.

Lawless reported from London and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet in Paris; Jan M. Olsen from Copenhagen, Denmark; Tameem Akhgar and Andrew Wilks in Istanbul; James LaPorta in Boca Raton, Florida; Mike Corder at The Hague, Netherlands; and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.26: 2021:

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#afghanistan, #evacuation, #islamic-state, #kabul, #khorasan

WASHINGTON: ‘ America Intelligence Officials Lay Blame for Failed Military Strikes Against Jihadists at Doors of News Reporters ‘

#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – October 11 – American intelligence officials are trying to blame news reports for failed military attacks against shadowy jihadist groups, arguing that the articles alerted a new terror group to impending air strikes.

Last month, the United States fired 46 cruise missiles at eight locations in northern Syria to target the Khorasan group’s training camps, a munitions centre and other sites.

However, the attacks only killed one or two key militants, US officials told the Associated Press.

The strikes near a compound in Aleppo did not cripple the group because members were able to scatter – something they blamed on news reports highlighting US missile plans.

This led to the escape of a French-born jihadi with military skills that officials say they were interested in targeting.

#ANS2014

#american, #khorasan, #syria, #united-states, #washington

‘ US Launch Five Air-Strikes Against Terrorist Targets ‘

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES – September 24 U.S. and coalition aircraft launched five air-strikes early Wednesday against terrorist targets in Iraq and Syria, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

' US Monitoring Khorasan Group'

‘ US Monitoring Khorasan Group’

Officials said one airstrike damaged eight vehicles linked to ISIS northwest of Al Qa’im, Syria, while four strikes occurred in Iraq.

Two vehicles and a weapons cache west of Baghdad were targeted while ISIS “fighting positions” southeast of Erbil were hit by the two other strikes. In addition to ISIS, a group of “seasoned al Qaeda veterans” known as Khorasan has also been targeted by U.S. strikes in Syria. 

Source:

#ANS2014

#isis, #islamic-state-in-syria-and-iraqisis, #khorasan, #united-states

‘ Khorasan Group Geared to Attack Western Targets’

#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 21 – A brand new intelligence has emerged warning Washington that its upcoming confrontation with the Islamic State may leave it blind to a more sinister and direct threat from a much lesser known terrorist group that has arisen from the ashes of the Syrian war.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (AFP Photo / SITE)

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (AFP Photo / SITE)

Very little information is being released at the moment by anyone within American intelligence and law enforcement circles, but the group calling itself Khorasan is said by officials to have concrete plans for striking targets in the United States and Europe as a chosen modus operandi – more so than the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS.

The first ever mention of the group occurred on Thursday at an intelligence gathering in Washington DC, when National Intelligence Director James Clapper admitted that in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”

According to the New York Times, some US officials have gone as far as saying that, while the Islamic State is undoubtedly more prominent in its show of force in the Middle East, the US air strike campaign and the coming actions by the anti-IS coalition will be what coaxes it into larger-scale attacks oversees – what Khorasan is essentially all about.

This brings up another issue seen in the current Western stance on terrorism: it is so focused on the terror spread by the IS that it’s beginning to forget that the destruction and mayhem of civil war across the Middle East is spawning a number of hard-to-track terrorist factions.

What you have is a growing body of extremists from around the world who are coming in and taking advantage of the ungoverned areas and creating informal ad hoc groups that are not directly aligned with ISIS or Nusra,” a senior law enforcement official told the NY Times on condition of anonymity.

The CIA and the White House declined to give comment.

According to government sources, the Al-Qaeda offshoot group is led by a former senior operative – 33-year-old Muhsin al-Fadhli, reportedly so close to Bin Laden’s inner circle that he was one of the few who knew of the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks in advance.

He had reportedly fled to Iran during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s story goes hazy after the campaign: many operatives are said to have traveled to Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries, forming splinter groups.

In 2012, al-Fadhli was identified by the State Department as leading the Iranian branch of Al-Qaeda, controlling the movement of funds and operatives” in the region and working closely with wealthyjihadist donors” in his native Kuwait to raise money for the Syrian terrorist resistance.

#ANS2014

#james-clapper, #khorasan, #middle-east, #us, #washington

WASHINGTON: ‘ Al-Qaeda’s New Bomb-Maker Cell Known As Khorasan Group ‘

#AceNewsServices –UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 13 – While the Islamic State group is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria – a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe –

map-of-khorasan

poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.

afghan-large

At the centre is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who travelled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the al-Nusra Front.

But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say.

Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.

Known as Lashkar-e-Khorasan (LeKh), the group’s only purpose is to identify, capture and execute people allegedly working for what is described as a web of local spies created by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

#ANS2014

#afghanistan, #al-qaida, #al-nursa-front, #europe, #khorasan, #pakistan, #president-bashar-assad, #syria, #united-states, #yemeni