Afghan soldier killed in Kabul airport as firefight erupts

At least one Afghan soldier died and three were injured when a firefight broke out between unidentified gunmen and  Western security forces and Afghan soldiers at Kabul airport on Monday, Germany's armed forces confirmed in a tweet

Aug 23, 2021
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Afghan soldier killed

At least one Afghan soldier died and three were injured when a firefight broke out between unidentified gunmen and  Western security forces and Afghan soldiers at Kabul airport on Monday, Germany's armed forces confirmed in a tweet. 

The incident happened at the North Gate of the Hamid Karzai’s International airport when an unknown gunman fired a snipper shot, resulting in counter-firing by Afghan, US, and German troops. 

Taliban fighters are deployed outside the airport, where they have been trying to help enforce some kind of order, while Afghan guards are helping U.S. forces inside the airport. Following the incident, all gates have been closed and the situation has come under control, two NATO officials confirmed to Reuters. 

Western forces have been involved in an extremely chaotic and hasty evacuation of its nationals and vulnerable Afghans after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed around a week ago. Last week, there were intelligence reports by western countries about possible infiltration of the airport area by ISIS operatives. 

Under the current agreement, the foreign forces can stay in Afghanistan until 31 August. However, it looks impossible to wrap up the evacuation drive within that time. The Taliban on Sunday said western forces have not yet sought the extension of the withdrawal timeline. 

The US and Germany indicated that they might extend their stay at Kabul airport to complete what US President Biden described as a “hard and painful” evacuation. 

Biden, in a briefing at the White House last week, said "Let me be clear, the evacuation of thousands from Kabul is going to be hard and painful" and would have been "no matter when it began.”

"We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong," he said.

Over the past week, Biden has been under intense pressure, and facing criticism for what many describe “botched up withdrawal plan.” Many US officials, as quoted in several media reports, have acknowledged that the Biden administration sat on the evacuation plan for weeks, ignoring warnings by a few quarters of intelligence agencies about the possible collapse of the Afghan government. 

(SAM)