UK warns of 'highly credible' terror threat at Kabul airport as U.S. urges people to stay away

  • Western countries involved in the evacuation effort from the airport have urged people to stay away amid growing concerns about possible terrorist activity.
  • The U.K.'s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News Thursday that an "imminent, lethal attack" could be about to take place at Kabul airport.
  • Late Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Kabul urged U.S. citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to the capital city's airport, citing an unspecified security threat outside the gates.

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LONDON — Officials from the U.K. have warned of a "highly credible" threat of an attack at Kabul airport by Islamic State militants.

The U.S. and other Western countries involved in the evacuation effort from the airport have urged people to stay away amid growing concerns about possible terrorist activity.

The U.K.'s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News that an "imminent, lethal attack" could be about to take place at Kabul airport.

"Intelligence over the course of the week has got ever more certain around the highly credible, imminent, lethal attack on the airport or the handling centers being used by western forces," Heappey told Sky News.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Kabul urged U.S. citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to the capital city's airport, citing an unspecified security threat outside the gates.

"Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," the security alert said.

"U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately," it added.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul advised Americans to be aware of their surroundings at all times, follow the instructions of local authorities, have a contingency plan for emergencies and monitor local media and the State Department for developments.

The U.S. administration has not provided the total number of Americans and Afghan nationals that it is aiming to evacuate before the Aug. 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

NATO allies and members of the president's own party have pushed for an extension of the withdrawal deadline, expressing doubt that the coalition can evacuate all the Afghans who are eligible to leave in such a short time frame.

However, Biden on Tuesday reiterated to leaders of the G-7, NATO, United Nations and European Union that the United States will withdraw its military from Afghanistan by the end of the month.

— CNBC's Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

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