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Vladimir Putin, Imran Khan discuss Afghanistan, bilateral relations on phone

Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi received a telephone call from Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. The two leaders exchanged views on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and bilateral relations.

Concerns about security around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul have increased based on “a very specific threat stream” from ISIS-K about planned attacks against crowds outside the airport, a US defense official has told CNN.


The US believes ISIS-K, which is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, wants to create mayhem at the airport and has intelligence streams suggesting it is capable and planning to carry out multiple attacks, according to the official.

On Tuesday, as he confirmed his decision not to extend the evacuation deadline beyond August 31, President Joe Biden acknowledged the growing threat the group poses to the airport.

“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both US and allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said.

Concerns increased after more than 100 prison inmates loyal to the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan escaped from two prisons near Kabul as the Taliban advanced on the Afghan capital, CNN has learned.

Summary:

Evacuations from Afghanistan’s Kabul airport pick up pace, with about 82,300 people now evacuated overall
The Pentagon says more than 10,000 are currently awaiting evacuation
Up to 1,500 Americans may still need evacuating, Secretary of State Blinken says, and US is “aggressively reaching out”
US President Joe Biden says he aims to complete the operation – and US troop pull-out – by the 31 August deadline
Some US troops have already started to leave as the effort enters its final phase
Turkey is also pulling out troops, apparently abandoning plans to help secure Kabul airport
US allies have pressed Biden to extend the timeframe, but the Taliban warn of “consequences” if foreign troops remain
An Afghan woman who got onto a flight tells the BBC Taliban forces at the airport are beating people
There are fears thousands of Afghans who wish to flee may be left behind

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