Taliban deployed additional forces around Kabul airport

KABUL (AP): The Taliban deployed extra forces around Kabul’s airport on Saturday to prevent large crowds from gathering after a devastating suicide attack two days earlier, as the massive United States-led airlift wound down ahead of an August 31 deadline.

New layers of checkpoints sprang up on roads leading to the airport, some manned by uniformed Tali-ban fighters with Humvees and night-vision goggles captured from Afghan security forces. Areas where large crowds of people have gathered over the past two weeks, in hopes of fleeing the country following the Taliban takeover, were largely empty.

On Saturday, the Taliban fired warning shots and deployed some kind of colored smoke on a road leading to the airport, sending dozens of people scattering, according to a video circulating online that was consistent with AP reporting.

An Afghan who had worked as a translator for the US military said that he was with a group of people with permission to leave who tried to reach the airport late Friday. After passing through three checkpoints they were stopped at a fourth.

An argument ensued, and the Taliban said that they had been told by the Americans to only let United States passport-holders through.

“I am so hopeless for my future,” the man told The AP after returning to Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. “If the evacuation is over, what will happen to us?”

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