US national security officials warned that another terror attack in Kabul is "likely", following Thursday's suicide bombing at Kabul airport.
Military forces on the ground are thus "taking maximum force protection measures at the Kabul Airport" as the US continues evacuations before an August 31 deadline.
Most Western airlifts have either ended or are winding down due to the security situation in the country. Thousands of Afghans are still gathered outside the airport gates trying to flee the Taliban.
At least 13 US soldiers were killed in the attack, as were more than 100 Afghan civilians. Many more were injured. The atrocities have been condemned around the world, from organisations as diverse as NATO and the Taliban.
Two British citizens were also killed in the attack, the foreign office said, and a child of a British citizen was killed.
- US national security advisers warned another terror attack in Afghanistan is "likely", the White House said, as the US ramps up evacuations ahead of an August 31 deadline to withdraw forces.
- Reports on Friday raised the overall death toll from Thursday's attack to at least 169. At least 13 US personnel died and two British citizens died.
- President Biden vowed that US forces would avenge the attack by hunting down those responsible. The self-proclaimed Islamic State group (IS) has said it carried them out.
- The US president also said the American evacuation mission will continue through to next Tuesday's deadline for withdrawal.
- Britain says its operation is in its final stages, while France now says its evacuations may continue beyond Friday night having previously said they would end by then. Most European countries' airlifts have ended.
Updates on Friday:
Pulitzer Prize board announces special citation for people who produced news stories in Afghanistan
The Pulitzer Prize Board announced a special citation Friday 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.
Another terror attack is 'likely', US national security team says
The US military is "taking maximum force protection measures at the Kabul Airport," the White House said.
The US president spoke to his national security team, including commanders and diplomats in the field, from the Situation Room.
"The threat is ongoing and it is active. Our troops are still in danger," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing.
"This is the most dangerous part of the mission. This is the retrograde period of the mission and what that means is that this is the period of time when the military, commanders on the ground and forces begin to move not just troops home but also equipment home, and that is often a very dangerous part of any mission but in this case, they're also doing that while there is an ongoing and acute threat from ISIS-K," she continued.
Taliban rule won't last long, claims Afghanistan's self-declared acting president
The self-proclaimed acting president of Afghanistan has told Euronews that Taliban rule won’t last long because their methods are “unacceptable to the people”.
Amrullah Saleh was vice president before the Taliban takeover earlier this month, which prompted President Ashraf Ghani to flee.
Saleh, speaking from the Panjshir Valley, an area of the country not currently under Taliban control, told Euronews: “The law of the Taliban is Islamic Emirate, unacceptable to the people of Afghanistan and the election of a leader by a group is unacceptable. It is impossible for Taliban rule to last long in Afghanistan.”
Read more here.
UK 'will shift heaven and earth' to help Afghans after evacuations end, Boris Johnson says
"As we come now to the final hours of the operation, there will sadly be people who haven’t got through, people who might qualify,” Johnson said. "What I would say to them is that we will shift heaven and earth to help them get out, we will do whatever we can in the second phase."
He said that the loss of two British citizens "underlines" the urgency of concluding the evacuations operations.
Johnson urged the Taliban to allow "safe passage" for those who qualify to leave the country.
UN Security Council condemns terror attack, says perpetrators need to be held responsible
The council of 15 states "underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice," and urged states to cooperate with authorities to do so.
The Council added that "any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."
The nations also "reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country."
Taliban spokesman says 'female employees' of Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health should work
Naeem said there would be no "obstacle" to them going to work.
Afghan death toll in suicide bombing rises to at least 169
The Afghan death toll in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport rose to 169 people, two officials told the AP.
The US Pentagon said 13 service members were killed in the attack while the UK foreign service said that 2 British citizens were also killed. The child of a British citizen was also killed in the suicide bombing.
Two British nationals and a child of a British national killed in Kabul attack, foreign office says
Two British nationals were killed in the terror attack outside the Kabul airport, foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced. The child of a British citizen was killed as well.
Two more British nationals were injured in the attack.
"These were innocent people and it is a tragedy that as they sought to bring their loved ones to safety in the UK they were murdered by cowardly terrorists," Raab said.
'Credible threats' in Kabul as US evacuations continue
The US Pentagon said they "expect" more attempts at attacks in Afghanistan.
"We still believe there are credible threats. In fact, I'd say specific, credible threats," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at a press conference.
He said they were "monitoring these threats...virtually in real-time," but added that he couldn't provide more detail.
“We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on,” President Biden said. But despite intense pressure to extend Tuesday’s deadline, he has cited the threat of terrorist attacks as a reason to keep to his plan.
The Taliban, back in control of Afghanistan two decades after they were ousted in a U.S.-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, insist on the August 31 cutoff date.
The Trump administration in February 2020 struck an agreement with the Taliban that called for it to halt attacks on Americans in exchange for the removal of all U.S. troops and contractors by May; Biden announced in April he would have them out by September.
While the U.S. on Thursday said more than 100,000 people have been safely evacuated from Kabul, as many as 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands more Afghans are struggling to leave in one of history’s largest airlifts.