Kabul: Twin blasts outside the airport here Thursday evening left at least 40 dead, including children and more than a 100 injured, officials said. Among the dead are US Marines and Taliban fighters also. The Taliban and other western nations were quick to condemn the suicidal attacks carried out by the Islamic State (IS).
Even though officially the death toll has been stated to be 13, various sources confirmed that the toll is at least 40 in the twin blasts. Four of the deceased are said to be US Marines.
Earlier in the day western nations had warned of a possible attack at the airport. One of the explosions took place among a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport, according to Adam Khan, an Afghan waiting near the gate. He said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who lost body parts.
The attacks came after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by IS militants. A source familiar with US congressional briefings said the officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of IS, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), after an old name for the region, was responsible. ISIS-K is opposed both by the United States and the Taliban.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one blast occurred near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other close to the nearby Baron Hotel. Two US officials said at least one of the explosions appeared to be from a suicide bombing.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” Kirby said on twitter. “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate,” he added.
Over the last week, the Hamid Karzai International airport here has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban’s takeover, as flight after flight took off carrying those who fear a return to the militants’ brutal rule.
Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and have begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signalling the beginning of the end of one of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban have pledged not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but have insisted the foreign troops must be out by America’s self-imposed deadline of August 31.