A brief firefight erupted at one gate in Hamid Karzai International Airport as U.S. troops supervised the emergency evacuations of Western citizens and some Afghan nationals.
What We Know:
- Navy Capt. William Urban, the combatant command overseeing American military operations in the region, said the event took place after “an unknown hostile factor” fired at Afghan security forces, killing an officer. The forces retaliated by returning fire, and, in response, U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) coalition troops became involved. Several Afghans were wounded in the firefight. Despite this, no American or NATO forces were hurt.
- The event occurs while the Biden Administration deals with criticism for pulling out of the country. A day after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden declared he still would not send the U.S. military back. In a press conference, he told reporters that he urged Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to compromise with the Taliban and prepare for a civil war. However, Ghani refused to take his advice; Ghani also told Biden that Afghanistan would fight back against the Taliban.
- Biden additionally activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet on Sunday, allowing the Pentagon to order civilian airlines to provide planes that will help accelerate evacuation efforts. The activation will bring in 18 aircraft from six airlines. Biden did this after the Pentagon declared the U.S. military would not ensure safe passage for Americans to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Alongside this, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan asked American citizens on Saturday not to go to the airport due to security reasons.
- In addition, CNBC states that the Biden Administration wants to extend the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all troops. However, the Taliban refuses to extend it; in addition, sources close to the Taliban told Reuters no Western authorities contacted the group to push the date back.
The crossfire at Hamid Karzai Airport happened just one week after several Afghans attempted to flee by clinging onto an American aircraft as it took off.