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US, Australia advise citizens at Kabul airport gates to ‘leave immediately’

Published: Updated:

The US embassy in Kabul advised US citizens not to travel to the Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time, according to an embassy security alert issued on Wednesday.

Citizens already at the airport’s Abbey Gate, East Gate, and North Gate were advised to leave immediately, said the security alert.

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The alert, posted on the embassy website, gave no reason for why it was issued.

It followed warnings by US President Joe Biden and other administration officials of a threat by ISIS to evacuation operations as crowds thronged airport gates, desperate to leave following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

The alert advised Americans to “be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.”

There is a high threat of a terrorist attack near the airport in Kabul, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said on Thursday, as Canberra urged its citizens and those with a visa for Australia to leave the area.

Late on Wednesday, Australia changed its advice to those in the area, which Payne said was based on heightened concerns of an attack.

“There is an ongoing and very high threat of a terrorist attack,” Payne told reporters in Canberra.

The warning heightens the risk that scores of Afghans holding visas for Australia could be left behind as Canberra readies to end its evacuation program.

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