Armed assailants attacked security forces at Kabul airport on Monday night. One Afghan soldier was killed and three others wounded in the firefight, in which both American soldiers and German forces intervened, according to the Bundeswehr. According to the information, "unknown attackers" went against the north gate of the airport at 4:13 am. This is one of the essential access points for the rescue of foreign and Afghan protectees currently being taken out of Kabul. American and German soldiers then also intervened in the exchange of fire at the site; the Bundeswehr secured the area with paratroopers from the 1st Airborne Brigade, among others.
The attack on the airport was not unexpected; for days, rumors had been mounting and movements could be seen that suggested it might happen. Likewise, terrorist attacks at the access points are still feared. The U.S. Pentagon as well as the State Department had already announced "counter-terrorism" operations by their forces at the airport, in which the area of operation of the Americans is to be extended beyond the actual airport site.
There had also been talk from the Bundeswehr about organized activities at the North Gate, the aim of which was unclear. On the one hand, it was suspected that the Taliban had infiltrated the crowd of thousands of waiting people with their own forces; on the other hand, it was considered possible that other terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS) could use the crowds for attacks. Likewise, it could not be ruled out that rival groups among the Taliban were also vying for influence at the airport, not least because of expected revenues from robbery and extortion at the access points.
According to the Bundeswehr, the Afghans killed or wounded were members of the Afghan army. Their leadership had left the force a week and a half ago, capitulating to the Taliban and leaving both the army and the country to their fate.
Regardless, another A400M transport took off from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, at around seven in the morning to pick up more people in need of protection in Kabul. More than 2700 people have already been taken out of Kabul by the air force. By the weekend, the Bundeswehr had replaced some of the soldiers previously deployed in Kabul with rested forces. In addition, large quantities of food, especially baby food, diapers, hygiene articles and other relief supplies were brought to Kabul via Tashkent in order to be able to provide a little better for those holding out outside the gates and at the airport.
Photo by Skyler Smith