Under high threat warnings, American forces continue airlift

 After a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan, American forces under increased security and threat of another attack continued to push ahead with the US-led evacuation. Officials from the United States claimed that they had killed an extremist member and that it was the responsibility of the United States.



US Central Command reported that a drone attack by the US on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan claimed the death of a member from the Islamic State affiliate.

Joe Biden, President of the United States, has taken responsibility for Thursday's suicide attack. This offshoot extremist group is both an enemy to the West as well as to Afghanistan's Taliban. They are also known for their lethal attacks.

Thursday's suicide bombing in Kabul claimed the lives of 169 Afghans. This number could rise as authorities examine fragmented remains and 13 US military personnel.

The US Central Command stated that American officials believed that the militant who was killed in Saturday's drone attack had been planning strikes against the United States in Kabul. There were no other casualties.

The US response comes amid a steady stream of dire warnings from both the White House, and the Pentagon about possible terrorist attacks on US forces. This is all before President Joe Biden's fast approaching deadline Tuesday to withdraw American personnel and end the airlift.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that the next few days will be "our most dangerous period to-date" in evacuations. Jen Psaki spoke hours before the US issued an alert for four airport gates.

Thursday's attack was one of the deadliest in Afghanistan. It was claimed by the US that it was the most fatal day for American forces in Afghanistan ever since 2011.

The call to prayer was heard Friday in Kabul, along with the roaring of departing aircrafts. The anxious crowds that thronged the airport in hopes of fleeing Taliban rule seemed as large as ever, despite scenes of many victims crammed together in the aftermath.

Many Afghan refugees arrived in large numbers, some with babies in tow and little else, and were able to board evacuation flights in the United States, Albania, Belgium, and elsewhere.

Afghan families searched for their loved ones in Kabul Friday as they waited for the US to fly them.

Afghans, Americans and foreigners all knew that the window was closing for them to escape via airlift.

Jamshad, his wife and their three children, travelled to the airport on Friday. He was holding an invitation to a Western nation that he did not want to identify.

"After the explosion, I decided to try. Jamshad said, "Because I am afraid there will be more attacks. And I think now it is time to leave." Jamshad uses one name, like many Afghans.

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that only one suicide bomber was at the airport's gate. This is in contrast to what US officials initially claimed. According to a US official, the bomber was carrying a heavier than usual load of explosives and shrapnel.

To discuss preliminary assessments of the attack, the US official spoke under anonymity. Officials who reported the Afghan death toll spoke on condition that they remain anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak to the media.

Afghan victims included a young journalist who was hardworking and a father who was desperate for a better future.

11 Marines, an Army soldier and a Navy sailor were among the American casualties.

Many of these children were still very young when the US troops first arrived in Afghanistan in 2001.

One, Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Mael Grant Nikoui sent a video just hours before his death to a friend in the United States. It showed him smiling and greeting Afghan children.

"Would you like to make a video with me, buddy?" Nikoui asked the young boy to join him in the photo. "All right, now we're heroes, man."

Officials in Britain claimed that two British citizens and the child from another Briton were among the victims.

The Taliban set up a barrier at 500m (1,600 feet), from the airport on the morning following the attack. This kept the US troops further away from the civilians than ever before.

According to US military officials, some gates were shut down and security measures implemented.

They claimed that there were stricter restrictions at Taliban checkpoints, and that there were fewer people at the gates.

According to US officials, evacuees who had proper documentation were still allowed to enter the gates. About 5,400 evacuees were waiting for flights.

Biden was briefed Friday by US commanders about their plans to strike back against the Islamic State. They also reiterated President Obama's promise to make the terrorists pay.

Biden called the US effort to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Taliban terrorists a "worthy mission."

He said, "And we will complete our mission."

Two decades after being expelled in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following 9/11, the Taliban have retaken control of Afghanistan. Many Afghans have fled the country in fear at their return to power.

According to the US, more than 100,000 people were evacuated safely from Kabul's airport. However, thousands of others are still trying to flee.

Friday's White House statement stated that 2,100 people had been evacuated by US military aircraft in the 24 hours preceding. Other coalition flights carried another 2,100 people.

This number is a fraction of 12,700 people who were transported by US military aircraft in a short period when airlift capacity reached its maximum.

France stopped its own evacuation and set up a temporary French Embassy at the airport. This left Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

US allies and other countries have ended or are ending airlifts in order to allow the US to finish its operations.

Taliban officials have stated that they will allow Afghans to fly commercially after the US withdraws, but it is not clear which airlines would return from an airport under Taliban control.

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