As American troops strive to remove hundreds of US citizens and Afghan friends from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden expresses concern that the Islamic State poses a threat.
In remarks at the White House on Sunday, Biden stated that the terror group is a “sworn enemy of the Taliban” and that the longer US soldiers remain on the ground, the more likely it is that the group will try to attack innocent people and American personnel near Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Joe Biden said:
The security environment is changing rapidly. There are civilians crowded at the airport, although we have cleared thousands of them. We know that terrorists may seek to exploit this situation and target innocent Afghans or American troops.
They’re maintaining constant vigilance to mon- — we’re maintaining the constant vigilance to monitor and disrupt threats from any source, including the likely source being ISIS — ISIS-K, the Afghan affiliate referred to as “ISIS-K.” But we are under no illusions about the threat.
I said on Friday, ISIS-K is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, and they have a history of fighting one another. But every day we have troops on the ground, these troops and innocent civilians at the airport face the risk of attack from ISIS-K from a distance, even though we’re moving back the perimeter significantly.
Because of worries about Islamic State fighters, the US Embassy in Kabul has advised Americans to avoid heading to the airport.
The terrorist group has long professed its desire to destroy America and American interests around the world, and it has been active in Afghanistan for several years, carrying out waves of brutal atrocities, mostly on the Shiite minority.
In recent years, the group has been routinely attacked by US airstrikes, and faced Taliban attacks.
President Joe Biden says 11,000 people were evacuated from Kabul over the weekend and that he remains committed to assisting all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan.
Biden added on Sunday that his top priority is to get American citizens out of Afghanistan “as quickly and safely as possible.”
Biden also stated that he is activating the civilian reserve air fleet provided by commercial airlines to assist in the transportation of evacuees from third-country to the United States.