As the U.S. moves to complete its evacuations and end its military presence in Afghanistan by August 31, Afghans are reportedly seeking last-chance efforts to escape the country as refugees.
Despite a suspected ISIS-K suicide bombing near Kabul's airport on Thursday, and warnings that another attack is "likely," The Associated Press reports "the anxious crowds thronging the airport in hope of escaping Taliban rule appeared as large as ever" on Friday.
"Afghans, American citizens, and other foreigners were all acutely aware the window is closing to board a flight," writes AP. About 5,400 evacuees are reportedly waiting at airport gates, though some gates have reportedly been closed as security is further restricted in response to the bombing. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated out of Kabul airport so far.
Among the Afghan evacuees are unaccompanied minors, reports CBS News. Some refugee children have arrived in the U.S. all alone, though some have reportedly been reunited with family members who were evacuated separately. At least some of the 34 unaccompanied minors have no family in the U.S., however, and have been placed in government shelters. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement is required to house them until they find sponsors or turn 18, writes CBS News, noting "the number of unaccompanied children from Afghanistan will likely increase" as evacuations end.
Evacuations are still ongoing, but AP reports that as other nations end their airlifts on Friday, "chances to help those hoping to join the evacuation are fading fast."