US warns of ‘credible’ threats of more Kabul attacks

Pentagon officials also said they believe the attack outside Kabul airport was a result of one explosion, not two.

United States Army soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division check people during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan [US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt Victor Mancilla/Handout via Reuters]

United States forces helping to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee Taliban rule were on alert for more attacks after an ISIL-affiliated suicide bombing on Thursday that killed at least 175 people Taliban, sources told Al Jazeera. Thirteen US service members died in the attack outside Kabul airport.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US believed there are still “specific, credible” threats against the airport.

Pentagon officials also said they believe the attack outside Kabul airport was a result of one explosion, not two as previously reported.

“We do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel, that it was one suicide bomber,” US Army Major General William Taylor told reporters at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kabul, said evacuations have resumed.

“We have seen a number of planes take off. The number of people around the airport has grown dramatically since yesterday,” he said.

Thursday’s attack was claimed by ISIL (ISIS) offshoot in Afghanistan – the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K).

US President Joe Biden pledged to retaliate against the attack in Kabul, confirming that the bombings were carried out by ISKP. “We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” he said.

This blog is now closed.

Below are the key developments from Friday, August 27, as they happened.

US says it evacuated 4,200 people in 12 hours

The US says it has evacuated approximately 4,200 people in 12 hours on Friday, following the deadly suicide attack near the airport in Kabul on Thursday.

“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 109,200 people,” the White House said in a statement. “Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 114,800 people.”

France ends its evacuation operation

France has ended its evacuation operation in Kabul, government ministers announced late on Friday, citing the “security conditions” and looming withdrawal of US troops by the end of the month.

“In exceptionally difficult circumstances, France evacuated nearly 3,000 people,” a joint statement by Defence Minister Florence Parly and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The ministers added that Paris will continue to help the people of Afghanistan “by all possible means”. They said they will work with Taliban officials to ensure that departures from the country are not impeded after August 31.

A French soldier with Afghan civilians at Kabul airport, August 20 [Etat-Major des Armees via AP]

US Marine officer who posted viral video critical of withdrawal is relieved of duty

US Marine Lt Colonel Stuart Scheller, who called out senior Pentagon leaders following the fatal suicide bomb attack at Kabul airport, has been relieved of duty.

“To all my friends across the social networks, I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence,” Scheller, a 17-year veteran, wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.

A four-minute video posted to Facebook by Scheller on Thursday had called for “accountability” among senior Marine Corps officers for what he called a botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The video was shared more than 21,000 times by other users, according to the social media platform.

“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying ‘we messed this up’,” Scheller said in the video.

Taliban say ready to take over Kabul airport, Pentagon claims still in control of military section

Taliban officials say forces inside Kabul airport are ready to take over, but Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said US forces still control the military section of the site.

One senior commander said Taliban forces had taken over most of the airport, “just not a small part where the Americans still are”, Reuters news agency said.

A second official said the forces were ready to take full control, adding: “It’s just a matter of some more time.”

Female employees at ministry of public health can resume work: Taliban spokesperson

Women workers with the ministry of public health have been asked to resume their work in Kabul and all provinces of Afghanistan, a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team in Doha, Qatar posted on social media.

“The Islamic Emirate has no issue with their [women] resumption of jobs,” the tweet from Suhail Shaheen, citing Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

US denies handing names of Afghan allies to Taliban

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price denied reports that Washington has provided the Taliban with a list of the names of Afghans it is looking to evacuate.

While acknowledging coordination with the Taliban as the de facto authorities in Kabul, Price said it is “simply false” that the US is sharing information with the group that would put Afghans at risk.

“The idea that we are providing names or personally identifiable information to the Taliban in a way that exposes anyone to additional risk, that is simply wrong,” Price said.

Two UK adults and teenager among victims of Kabul airport attack

Two British adults and the child of a British national have been confirmed to be among those killed in the Kabul airport attack.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the deaths and said a further two people were injured in the attack.

At least 175 people killed in airport attack

The death toll of the Kabul airport attack on Thursday has now reached 175 people, Taliban sources told Al Jazeera.

Among the dead were 13 US service members.

US aims to prevent Afghan aid going through Taliban coffers

The United States will continue to be a “very generous” donor of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and will aim to prevent any of its assistance from passing through Taliban coffers, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said.

“We can maintain a humanitarian commitment to … the Afghan people in ways that do not have any funding or assistance pass through the coffers of a central government,” he told reporters. “I expect the United States will continue to be a very generous donor to the Afghan people.”

Turkey’s evacuation from Afghanistan complete: Erdogan

Turkey has evacuated all troops and civilians from Afghanistan aside from a small “technical group” left behind, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that a battle of “terrorist organisations” had taken hold in the country.

“We did what we were responsible for and as of tonight, all our personnel there has been withdrawn,” Erdogan said at a press conference in Sarajevo, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders. “There will only be a small technical group left.”

Erdogan, who made the comment on his visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, said it was unclear what kind of conflict the Taliban and ISIL would have in Afghanistan [Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

Psaki starkly defines Biden’s ‘hunt’ for bombers

Responding to questions about what US President Joe Biden meant specifically when he told the Kabul airport bombers Thursday, “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki defined further what he meant by saying “make you pay”.

“I think he made clear yesterday that he does not want them to live on the Earth anymore,” Psaki told reporters.

Psaki did not offer any additional details on what “hunting down and going after” the bombers entails, but stressed that Biden’s “commitment will remain until it’s done”.

Biden taps Homeland Security to handle Afghan refugees

President Joe Biden has directed the US Department of Homeland Security to take the lead in relocating Afghans fleeing their country and coming to the US, the White House said.

“Already, DHS has been working closely with agencies across government, including our military, diplomats, intelligence community and law enforcement professionals, and many others to ensure that all Afghans are screened and vetted prior to being allowed into the United States,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Growing list of US military bases prepare for 50,000 Afghan refugees: Pentagon

The US military added the Marine Corps’ Quantico base and Army’s Fort Pickett in Virginia, and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to its list of bases preparing to accept Afghan refugees under the US’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programme for Afghans, a Pentagon official said.

There are presently about 7,000 Afghans in the United States who were evacuated from Kabul and the addition of three bases brings US capacity to house and care for refugees in the US to 50,000, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

Since the airlift began, the US and coalition partners have evacuated 111,000 people from Kabul to US bases in Italy, Germany, Qatar and other temporary staging areas. The military will designate more US bases to receive Afghan refugees as needed, Kirby said.

People arrive at a processing centre for refugees evacuated from Afghanistan at the Dulles Expo Center near Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, the US [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Biden told another Kabul attack ‘likely’

US President Joe Biden’s national security team has told the president that another attack is “likely” in Kabul, and that “maximum force protection” measures are being taken at the airport in the Afghan capital.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not go into detail on the assessment Biden received from his team one day after a suicide bomber killed 13 US service members and scores of Afghans outside the airport.

Psaki says the next few days of the mission to evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans fleeing Taliban rule “will be the most dangerous period to date”.

Families of Kabul airport bombing victims scramble for news

Families of the victims of the bombings outside Kabul airport that killed at least 110 people and injured about 120 others are clamouring for news of their loved ones.

Dozens of families crowded outside Kabul’s Emergency Hospital on Friday. One among them – Muzda Nikanjam, 17, alongside her mother Zarghuna – was desperate to know about her father Abdol Naser, who has been undergoing treatment for more than 15 hours at the hospital.

Read more here.

Pulitzer board grants special citation to Afghan journalists

The Pulitzer Prize Board announced a special citation for people in Afghanistan who risked their safety to help produce news stories and images from their war-torn country.

“From staff and freelance correspondents to interpreters to drivers to hosts, courageous Afghan residents helped produce Pulitzer-winning and Pulitzer-worthy images and stories that have contributed to a wider understanding of profoundly tragic and complicated circumstances,” the board said.

The citation comes with a $100,000 emergency relief grant intended to help men and women involved in journalism in Afghanistan either resettle or continue their work safely.

NATO chief praises Qatar for facilitating Afghan evacuations

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Qatar for its “leading role” in facilitating the evacuation of “thousands of people from Afghanistan”.

“Qatar is a key actor in the region, and is an increasingly important partner for NATO,” he tweeted.

People still coming to airport amid extra precautions: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reported from Kabul that people were still arriving at Kabul airport amid extra security and precautions put in place in the aftermath of Thursday’s attack.

“They have put in place this Friday extra precautions pushing people further back from the perimeter, including extra Taliban guards,” he said.

“But still, people have turned up in the hope of getting onto some sort of flight, despite the ongoing warnings. And these warnings have been reissued by both the Taliban and also the United States.”

McBride said in Kabul city itself, things were “far calmer on the streets”.

“This is the second day, for many people of the Afghan weekend so we have many more people out on the streets. We have very high Taliban presence, but you get the sense that the Taliban are far less jittery than they were 24 hours ago.”

Taliban fighters guard outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 27, 2021, a day after a deadly bomb attack [Wali Sabawoon/AP Photo]

Pakistan would like ‘inclusive government’ in Afghanistan: UN representative

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram has said Pakistan would like an “inclusive … broad-based government” in Kabul.

“We are consulting with all the regional countries in order to coordinate and approach … on the issue of not only the recognition, but going forward, what are the steps that are required to stabilise Afghanistan,” he told Al Jazeera.

Akram added: “The issue of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan is a special concern for Pakistan, because we have had the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been operating from the territory of Afghanistan, which had support from the intelligence agency of the former government, as well as the Indian intelligence agency.”

NGO increases beds to handle blast victims

The Italy-based NGO Emergency, located in Kabul, has increased the number of beds at its facility to cater to the victims of Thursday’s attack outside Kabul airport, the group’s medical coordinator said.

“We have increased the number of beds from 100 to 115 in order to handle this emergency,” Alberto Zanin revealed, according to the NGO’s Twitter account.

“At the moment, there are four free beds.”

Thursday’s attack at Kabul airport one explosion, not two: Pentagon

US defence officials have revised the account of the attack outside Kabul airport on Thursday.

“We do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel, that it was one suicide bomber,” US Army Major General William Taylor told reporters at the Pentagon.

He said he was uncertain how the incorrect report was put out on Thursday, but noted “it’s not any surprise” that there was confusion.

“Very dynamic events like this can cause information sometimes to be misreported,” Taylor said.

Pakistani military: situation along Afghan border normal

Pakistan has facilitated the evacuation of about 5,500 foreigners from Kabul in the past two weeks, a military spokesperson said.

“We have the figures of about 113 flights which have landed from Afghanistan in Pakistan, in Islamabad, mostly military aircrafts and commercial aircraft,” Major General Babar Iftikhar told a news conference.

Iftikhar also said the situation along the border with Afghanistan was normal and that there have been no Afghan refugee crossings since the Taliban took control of the neighbouring country earlier this month.

The crossings remain open for trade and for Afghans with valid travel documents, he said.

“Afghanistan is landlocked country and you cannot close the borders indefinitely, on humanitarian grounds as well,” Iftikhar said.

Kabul bombers must be brought ‘to justice’: UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council urged the international community to bring the perpetrators of the Kabul airport bombing to justice in a joint statement released Friday.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice,” the 15-member council said.

“They urged all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.”

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021 [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Russians fined for protest in support of Afghan women

Russia has fined two activists for organising a demonstration in support of Afghan women who face an uncertain future after the Taliban returned to power in the country, a court said.

The two activists, Artemy Pityukov and Ksenia Bezdenezhnykh, were fined 200,000 rubles ($2,670) each for “violating public order”, a spokeswoman for the Presnensky district court in Moscow told AFP news agency.

The activists took part in a small-scale demonstration on Monday outside Afghanistan’s embassy in Moscow.

Afghan death toll in Kabul attack rises to 79: hospital official

The number of Afghans killed in a suicide bomb attack on Kabul airport has risen to 79, a hospital official told Reuters news agency.

More than 120 people were wounded, some were still in hospital but many had returned home, the official said.

US forces helping to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee new Taliban rule were on alert on Friday after the Islamic State attack, which also killed 13 US service members.

Taliban forces block the roads around the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 27, 2021 [Reuters]

Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs are ‘catastrophic’, UN says

United Nations officials have appealed for $800m to fill a chronic funding gap for Afghanistan, with a senior aid official describing the situation as “catastrophic” with at least one-third of people expected to be facing hunger.

“Humanitarian needs are catastrophic, are at large-scale and are increasing,” Wafaa Saeed Abdelatef of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at a virtual briefing.

“These humanitarian needs are coming from decades of conflict, compounded by drought and COVID-19.” The UN has appealed for $1.3bn to reach 16 million people in Afghanistan this year, but an $800 million gap remains.

Half a million Afghans could flee across borders: UNHCR

Up to half a million Afghans could flee the crisis in their homeland, the UN refugee agency UNHCR says, appealing to all neighbouring countries to keep their borders open for those seeking safety.

“In terms of numbers, we are preparing for around 500,000 new refugees in the region. This is a worst-case scenario,” Kelly Clements, deputy UN high commissioner for refugees, told a Geneva news briefing.

“While we have not seen large outflows of Afghans at this point, the situation inside Afghanistan has evolved more rapidly than anyone expected,” she added.

Afghans walk along fences as they arrive in Pakistan through the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman [AFP]

Russia is key partner in managing Afghan crisis: Italy

Russia is a key partner in managing the crisis in Afghanistan, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio says.

“We are convinced that Moscow is a fundamental player in dealing with the current crisis and to achieve a unified international approach in future,” Di Maio told reporters after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We have to make sure Afghanistan does not return to being a safe haven for terrorists,” Di Maio said.

Should the US have stayed in Afghanistan longer?

Every year for 20 years, US officials justified the war in Afghanistan as worthy and winnable. But after the deadline to withdraw was made, the same officials watched in shock and awe as the Taliban retook their country within days.

Former national security adviser, John Bolton, and other conservative critics of the Joe Biden administration argue that the US should have stayed in Afghanistan indefinitely, and warn against making any deals with the Taliban.

Host Steve Clemons asked Bolton what the US could ever hope to achieve with a perpetual presence in Afghanistan.

Watch the episode of Al Jazeera’s programme The Bottom Line here.

Germany says 300 citizens still in Afghanistan

Germany says it believes that about 300 of its citizens are still in Afghanistan after the country ended its evacuation flights from Kabul.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said there are also about 10,000 Afghans who worked for German forces or for other reasons had been identified as entitled to evacuation. But it is unclear how many of those might have found a way out other than on German flights.

Kremlin says danger in Afghanistan remains high

The Kremlin said danger remained high for everyone in Afghanistan after an attack at the airport in Kabul, and that the ISIL (ISIS) and other armed groups were trying to capitalise on chaos in the country.

Russia’s intelligence services are working round the clock to prevent any spillover into neighbouring regions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Taliban forces block the roads around the airport in Kabul [Reuters]

Biden vague on whether US gave Taliban list of vulnerable Afghans

US President Joe Biden said “there may have been” a list of names of vulnerable Afghans given to the Taliban in an effort to facilitate United States evacuations from the country, as reported by an American news site.

Biden, speaking to reporters on Thursday after deadly twin bombings claimed by an ISIL (ISIS) affiliate near Kabul’s airport, said US forces have coordinated with the Taliban on several occasions to help bring evacuees to the airport.

Read more here.

Hundreds of displaced Afghan families seeking food and shelter

Hundreds of Afghan families who have been camping in searing heat at a Kabul park after the Taliban overran their provinces are begging for food and shelter, as a humanitarian crisis unfolds in the war-torn country.

Read more here.

An Afghan girl holds an umbrella as she sits on a grave at a cemetery in Kabul [File: Stringer/Reuters]

Uzbek leader says in daily contact with Taliban to ensure security

The Uzbek government is maintaining daily contact with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan to help ensure Uzbekistan’s security, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev was quoted by state news agency UzA as saying.

“We are in contact with the Taliban every day,” the deputy chief of UzA quoted Mirziyoyev as saying in his Telegram channel. “I am ready for any dialogue in order to ensure there is no fire in the direction of Uzbekistan.”

Taliban planning ‘inclusive caretaker gov’t’ in Afghanistan

The Taliban says it is planning an inclusive caretaker government in Afghanistan after the group toppled the Western-backed administration in a stunning sweep earlier this month.

Taliban sources in Doha and Kabul have told Al Jazeera that the caretaker government will include leaders from all ethnicities and tribal backgrounds in the country.

Read more here.

WHO says hopes for air bridge into northern Afghanistan in days

Medical supplies are running out in Afghanistan, where the World Health Organization (WHO) said it hoped to establish an air bridge into the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with the help of Pakistani authorities within the next two or three days.

“Right now because of security concerns and several other operational considerations, Kabul airport is not going to be an option for the next week at least,” Rick Brennan, WHO’s regional emergency director, told a Geneva briefing from Cairo.

Insurance rates for flying into Afghanistan have “skyrocketed”, he said, speaking a day after bombs at Kabul airport killed dozens of people. “Once we can address that we can hopefully be airborne in the next 48-72 hours,” he added.

A Pakistani soldier stands guard as Afghans walk along fences after arriving in Pakistan through the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman [AFP]

Owner of Baron Hotel recounts bombing outside its gate

Mumtaz Muslim, the Baron Hotel owner, told Al Jazeera from Dubai: “This was the first attack ever at the Baron Hotel. We have been there since 2009. It was a big blast. Our people were there, everybody heard it but thankfully it was outside the property, outside our first line of defence which is the main gate.”

“There were more than 15,000-20,000 people standing outside trying to get in to get those immigrant visas from the British. Since the 15th of August, the British embassy along with the ambassador and the military moved into the Baron, took some rooms and started processing people who wanted to leave Afghanistan,” he said.

“Our staff remain safe. [There is] no injuries to anybody or damage to the property. Of course, everybody was shaken up but then because there were so many guests inside, everything went back to normal very soon.”

What we know about Islamic State in Khorasan, aka ISIL-K, ISKP

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), also known as ISIL-Khorasan or ISIL-K, has claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attacks outside Kabul airport.

Here is what we know about this group.

Islamic State leader killed in Afghan airstrike
A video grab taken from an undated video show the late ISIL-K leader Hafiz Saeed, centre, at an undisclosed location near the Pakistani-Afghan border [EPA/TTP handout]

‘Vicious attack’: World leaders condemn Kabul suicide blasts

Condemnation and condolences have poured in from world leaders following the twin blasts outside Kabul’s airport that killed at least 110 people with dozens of others wounded.

Read more here.

Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Turkey holds first talks with the Taliban in Kabul: Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has held its first talks with the Taliban in Kabul, adding that Ankara was still assessing the group’s offer to run the Afghan capital’s airport.

“We have held our first talks with the Taliban, which lasted 3.5 hours,” Erdogan told reporters. “If necessary, we will have the opportunity to hold such talks again.”

“The Taliban have made a request regarding the operation of the Kabul airport. They say, ‘We’ll ensure security and you can operate it.’ But we have not made a decision yet because there is always a possibility of death and such things there,” Erdogan said.

Read more here.

Spain ends evacuations from Kabul: Government

Spain said on Friday it has ended its evacuation operations out of Kabul following the arrival of “the last two Spanish flights” in Dubai, just about a week after it began airlifting its citizens.

“A military A400 plane arrived in Dubai from Kabul at 7:20 am. A second is due to land at 8:20 am. With these two flights, the Spanish evacuation of its Afghan collaborators and their families has been completed,” the government said in a statement.

Afghan citizens board a Spanish military plane [Ministry of Defence of Spain/Handout via Reuters]

UK to end evacuations from Afghanistan ‘in a matter of hours’

The United Kingdom says that it plans to complete its evacuations out of Afghanistan “in a matter of hours”.

“We will process those people that we have brought with us, the 1,000 people approximately inside the airfield now,” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News. “And we will seek a way to continue to find a few people in the crowd, where we can, but overall the main processing has now closed and we have a matter of hours.”

Nearly 14,000 British citizens and Afghans had been rescued as part of the UK evacuations since mid-August, Wallace said, but added: “The sad fact is not every single one will get out.”

International employers accused of abandoning Afghan staff

Many international NGOs are accused of abandoning their staff as thousands of Afghans try to leave the country.

Read more here.

Taliban draft in thousands of fighters from provinces: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kabul, said, “The Taliban have drafted in thousands of other fighters from the provinces to try and increase the security around the airport, but there is an increasing sense of fear and trepidation in the city.”

“These attacks are a grave indication of the kind of security challenges that the Taliban will be facing in the months ahead,” he said. “We can only imagine more roadblocks around the airport we are going to see today and even greater tension.”

Relatives transport in a car the coffin of a victim of the August 26 twin suicide bomb blasts [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

Evacuation flights resume in Kabul after deadly bombings

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan have resumed with new urgency a day after two suicide bombings targeted the thousands of desperate people fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The US says further attempted attacks are expected before the Tuesday deadline for foreign troops to leave, ending America’s longest war.

Kabul residents said several flights took off on Friday morning.

Deadliest days for US troops in Afghanistan

At least 13 US soldiers are among the 85 people killed in the explosions at Kabul airport, claimed by ISIL affiliate, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP or ISIS-K).

It was the worst single-day loss for American troops in Afghanistan since the August 2011 attack on a Chinook helicopter that killed 30 service members.

Read more here.

Smoke billows from the airport area after a blast outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport [Akhter Gulfam/EPA]

First group of Afghan refugees arrives in Albania

The Albanian government says that the first group of Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan has arrived in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

A civilian plane of the Egyptian Almasria Universal Airlines was seen landing at the Tirana international airport with men and women, children and elderly people leaving it. Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka and US Ambassador to Tirana Yuri Kim were present at the airport.

The Afghans were first taken to military tents, where they had a rapid virus test, other medical and psychological assistance and registration before being moved to hotels. The government has said the Afghans may stay at least a year while proceeding with applications for special visas for final settlement in the US.

72 civilians among 85 killed in Kabul airport carnage

A health official and a Taliban official said the toll of Afghans killed has risen to 72, including 28 Taliban members.

The US military said 13 of its service members have been killed.

Taliban says 28 of its members killed in airport blasts

At least 28 members of the Taliban are among the people killed in explosions overnight outside the airport in Kabul, a Taliban official told Reuters news agency.

“We have lost more people than the Americans,” said the official, who declined to be identified. He said there was no reason to extend the August 31 deadline for foreign forces to leave the country.

Australia says troops pulled out before Kabul blasts

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday his country has already completed its evacuation operations in Afghanistan.

The country pulled out its troops from Kabul just before the bombings on Thursday, after receiving “very clear intelligence” of an impending attack.

“We were able to ensure the departure of the remaining Australian personnel over the course of last night, not that long before the terrible events that unfolded last night took place,” Morrison said at a news conference.

He also said American and British forces had helped Australia over nine days to evacuate some 4,100 people, including 3,200 Australians and Afghan citizens with Australian visas.

Norway halts Kabul evacuation

Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide has announced that her country can no longer assist in evacuating remaining citizens from Afghanistan’s capital.

“The doors at the airport are now closed and it is no longer possible to get people in,” Soereide said in an interview with TV2.

Norway had earlier agreed to provide airlift support for Afghan evacuees from the Gulf region to follow-on points in Europe, according to a US State Department statement.

Afghan staff documents left at UK embassy in Kabul: Report

The staff of the UK embassy in Kabul, who hurriedly evacuated following the Taliban takeover on August 15, have left documents with the contact details of Afghans working for them, as well as other identifying information such as job applications of Afghans, according to an exclusive report by The Times newspaper in the UK.

According to the report, the documents were left scattered on the ground at the British embassy compound in Kabul that has been seized by the Taliban.

“Phone calls to the numbers on the documents revealed that some Afghan employees and their families remained stranded on the wrong side of the airport perimeter wall days after their details were left in the dirt in the haste of the embassy’s evacuation on August 15,” the report said.

US says more than 100,000 evacuated since August 14

The US has announced that more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan have been evacuated since August 14, the eve of the Taliban’s return to power.

“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 100,100 people,” the White House said in a statement issued on Thursday hours after a twin blast killed dozens of Afghans and at least 13 US troops, at one of the entrances at Kabul airport.

The Taliban has given the US until August 31 to withdraw its troops and evacuate its citizens as well as Afghans with documents to leave.

US military’s toll in Kabul bombing rises to 13: Pentagon

The US Defense Department has announced that the number of US troops killed in the blasts at Kabul airport rose by one to 13 and the number of injured was 18.

“A thirteenth US service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate,” Central Command Spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement.

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Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies