Kabul airport attack: At least 60 regular people, 13 US troopers pass on in suicide bomb blast claimed by IS
The blasts came hours after Western authorities warned of a significant assault, encouraging people to leave the airport. But that advice went generally unnoticed by Afghans desperate to get away from the country.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans running to Kabul’s airport Thursday, changing a scene of distress into one of horror in the waning days of airlift for those escaping the Taliban takeover. The attacks killed somewhere around 60 Afghans and 13 US troops, Afghan and US authorities said.
The blasts came hours after Western authorities warned of a major attack, asking people to leave the air terminal. But that advice went to a great extent unnoticed by Afghans desperate to get away from the country over the most recent couple of days of an American-led departure before the US officially closes its 20-year presence on 31 August.
US officials initially said 11 Marines and one Navy doctor were among the individuals who died. Another service member died hours later. Eighteen service members were injured and officials warned the toll could grow. In excess of 140 Afghans were injured, an Afghan authority said.
Additionally Thursday, Defense Secretary LLoyd Austin proposed the clearing will go on and communicated his most profound sympathie
The US general managing the departure said the attacks would not stop the United States from clearing Americans and others, and flights out were continuing. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said there was a lot of safety at the airport, and backup ways to go were being utilized to get evacuees in. Around 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the runway, McKenzie said.
In an emotional speech from the White House, US President Joe Biden said the latest bloodshed would not drive the US out of Afghanistan earlier than scheduled, and that he had instructed the US military to develop plans to strike IS.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said.
Additionally Thursday, Defense Secretary LLoyd Austin proposed the clearing will go on and communicated his most profound sympathies to the friends and family and colleagues of every one of those killed and injured in Kabul today.”
Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others,” he said. We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief. But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand.
To do anything less particularly now would shame the reason and sacrifice these people have delivered our nation and individuals of Afghanistan, the statement also said.
The State Department says it is following around 1,000 American residents who it accepts may in any case be in Afghanistan.
IS branch claims responsibility
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel. The IS branch, known as The Islamic State-Khorasan Province after a name for the region from ancient history, said in its claim of responsibility that it targeted American soldiers and their Afghan partners.
One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater channel under the boiling sun, tossing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier had expected to get on flights out could be seen carrying the injured to ambulances in a shock, their own dresses darkened with blood.
US says Taliban not responsible, but leader of ousted govt disagrees
Pentagon representative John Kirby said one blast was close to an air terminal passage and one more was a brief distance away by a hotel. McKenzie said clearly some failure at the airport allowed a suicide bomber to get so close to the gate.
He said the Taliban has been screening people outside the gates, though there was no indication that the Taliban deliberately allowed Thursday’s attacks to happen. He said the US has asked Taliban commanders to tighten security around the airport’s perimeter.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any attack was imminent at the airport, where the group’s fighters have deployed and occasionally used heavy-handed tactics to control the crowds. After the attack, he appeared to shirk blame, noting the airport is controlled by US troops.