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Students From American University of Kabul Told They Won't Be Evacuated

And more from Afghanistan, where rockets were fired on the airport Monday
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2021 2:52 AM CDT
Updated Aug 30, 2021 6:54 AM CDT
Rockets Fired at Kabul Airport
Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – Students, alumni, and staff of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul, as well as their relatives, have been informed that evacuations are over and they should return home, the New York Times reports. The group says it spent seven hours waiting for clearance to get into the Kabul airport only to be turned away Sunday; an email from university administration that day told students, "I regret to inform you that the high command at HKIA in the airport has announced there will be no more rescue flights." One student tells the Times the group was particularly alarmed to learn that the US military had given a list of hundreds of students and family members to the Taliban guarding airport checkpoints, in keeping with protocol: "We are all terrified, there is no evacuation, there is no getting out." The Taliban has spoken out against universities where Muslim minds are "corrupted." More of the latest from Afghanistan:

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  • Rocket attack: Five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport Monday, Fox News reports. They were intercepted by the US' C-RAM missile defense system, and there were no reported casualties. ISIS-K, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for last week's suicide bombings at the airport, is likely behind the rocket attack, an official tells CNN.
  • Drone casualties: The US drone attack on the car of suspected ISIS-K bombers killed nine members of one family, including six children, a relative claims. Neighbors and witnesses agree that children were among the dead, CNN reports. "We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties," a spokesperson for US Central Command said Sunday. "It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further."

  • Airport handover: The Taliban is ready to take over the Kabul airport ahead of the US troop withdrawal deadline Tuesday, an official told Reuters on Sunday. "We are waiting for the final nod from the Americans to secure full control over Kabul airport," the official says.
  • Remaining US citizens: There are about 300 US citizens still in Afghanistan who want to leave, and the US has the capacity to evacuate all of them before Tuesday, the AP reports. Another 280 or so say they will remain in Afghanistan or have not yet decided what to do. As for Afghan refugees, 98 countries have vowed to take them in after the troop withdrawal is complete, the New York Times reports.
  • More on the stranded students: The Washington Post recently ran a column urging the US not to "betray" American University students, calling them—particularly the female students there—"some of the most endangered" Afghans. "Any US rescue operation that leaves behind these students ... will cap what is already an American defeat in Afghanistan with an especially poignant disgrace," writes Charles Lane. For more on the university's history and the danger to students there, see the full column. For more on the students' current plight, see the Times.
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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