On 23 August 2021, Western security forces — including U.S. and NATO troops — and Afghan guards exchanged gunfire with unknown assailants near the north gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/KBL) in the capital Kabul. At least one Afghan guard was killed, and three other guards suffered injuries. According to reports, the gunbattle began after the attackers fired on the airport guards.

Large crowds of people continue to gather outside the airport as foreign nationals and Afghan citizens attempt to evacuate the country. According to a U.S. military spokesperson, there are reports of Taliban soldiers physically assaulting U.S. nationals and Afghan citizens with proper visas traveling to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Additionally, Taliban leaders have announced that they are unwilling to extend the 31 August deadline for foreign forces to leave the country.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a spokesperson for the Taliban announced that hundreds of Taliban fighters were traveling to Panjshir province — located approximately 125 km (80 mi) northeast of Kabul — in an attempt to gain control of the area after provincial leaders refused to hand over power to the Taliban. The province is home to thousands of anti-Taliban fighters, including Afghan military personnel and former Northern Alliance fighters who previously battled the Taliban, who call themselves the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. Leaders of the Taliban and the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan stated that they both remain open to dialogue.

In related developments, on 22 August a NATO official reported that at least 20 fatalities have occurred in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport since evacuation efforts began following the fall of the city to the Taliban on 15 August. The British Ministry of Defense confirmed on 22 August that at least seven people were killed during a stampede of people attempting to enter the airport on 21 August. Separately, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on 22 August that 18 aircraft from U.S. commercial air carriers have been activated to assist in the ongoing NATO-led evacuation efforts.