• By The Financial District

U.S. Military Begins Withdrawal From Kabul Airport

US troops have begun their withdrawal from Kabul airport, the Pentagon said on Saturday, as the evacuation efforts from the Afghan capital entered their final stages, Idrees Ali reported for Reuters.

Photo Insert: Kabul Airport

President Joe Biden sent thousands of troops to the airport as the Taliban swept through Afghanistan earlier this month to help evacuate American citizens, at-risk Afghans, and other foreigners desperate to flee.

At the peak of the deployment there were 5,800 US troops securing Hamid Karzai International Airport, where an unprecedented airlift operation is set to end by Tuesday.

After a US official told Reuters there were fewer than 4,000 troops left at the airport, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed to reporters at a briefing that the withdrawal had begun. He declined to say how many service members remained.

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US officials have said that as troops are flown out there is increasing concern about the threat posed to the airport by militants from the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) group, with a focus on rocket attacks and vehicle-borne explosives.

Following an Islamic State suicide bombing on Thursday that killed scores of Afghan civilians and 13 US troops, the US military launched a drone strike on Friday that it said targeted members of the group in Nangarhar Province, east of Kabul.

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US Army Major General William Taylor, from the military's Joint Staff, told the briefing two "high-profile" ISIS-K planners and facilitators were killed and another wounded.


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