Ahead of the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Friday claimed to have taken control of parts of the Kabul international airport.
Taking to Twitter, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said, “Today, three important locations in the military part of Kabul airport were evacuated by the Americans and are under the control of the Islamic Emirate… Now, a very small part remains with the Americans.”
One senior commander said Taliban forces “just not a small part where the Americans still are.” While Reuters quoted a second official as saying that the forces were ready to take full control. “As soon as the Americans leave, they just have to give us the signal and we will then take over,” he said. “This can be done as early as this weekend,” he said adding, “It`s just a matter of some more time.”
The United States and its allies had set August 31 deadline to complete evacuations from the war-torn country.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon asserted that US remains in full control of military side of Kabul airport. It also assured that the Taliban was not in charge of flight operations.
Further, State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Friday said the US will transfer Kabul airport back to the Afghan people. “Upon our departure, we will transfer the Kabul airport back to the Afghan people,” he said at a media briefing.