|The U.S. military confirmed a large explosion on Thursday outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, where the United States and other countries have been evacuating tens of thousands of people.
More than 100 people were killed, including at least 13 U.S. service members and 90 Afghans, at the Kabul airport Thursday when two blasts ripped through crowds trying to enter the American-controlled facility, disrupting the final push of the U.S.-led evacuation effort.
A suicide bomb attack at the airport’s Abbey Gate was followed by an assault by gunmen, officials said. Another bomb attack took place nearby, at a hotel outside the airport, officials said. Eighteen U.S. service members were injured, the Pentagon said.
The attack marked the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2011, and came just five days before the Biden administration’s deadline for the complete military withdrawal from the country. The military expects more attacks, Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters.
|President Biden on Thursday delivered a stark message to those who carried out the deadly attack outside the airport in Kabul that left 13 U.S. service members dead while also pledging that the evacuation of Afghanistan will continue.
“Know this,” Biden said to the attackers. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Biden held a moment of silence to honor the American service members who lost their lives, calling them “heroes” and “the best the country has to offer.”
|“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Other reports located it close to the Baron Hotel near the gate, which Western nations had used to stage some evacuations. U.S. and allied officials have said they had intelligence that suicide bombers tied to the Afghan arm of the Islamic State group — the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) — were threatening to attack the airport ahead of Washington’s August 31 deadline to finalise the evacuation.
With this horrific incidence, Western nations warned their citizens to immediately leave the surrounds of the airport over a terrorist threat, as thousands of people tried to reach a dwindling number of evacuation flights. “Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” said the US State Department.
Britain’s Armed Force Minister James Heappey said on Thursday a terrorist threat against the airport was “imminent.”
“Reporting over the week has become ever more credible. And it is of an imminent and severe threat to life,” Heappey said. Most member nations of the U.S.-led coalition said on Thursday they had wound up or would soon end their own evacuation flights from Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The total number of people who have been taken out of the US-controlled hub since the international airlift began on August 14 hit 95,700 on Thursday, including both Afghans and foreign nationals. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States would stick to its deadline of withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by August 31, to end the two-decade US-led war there.
A spokesman for the Taliban, which seized Kabul on August 15 to cap a lightning campaign against government forces, said Tuesday the evacuation operation had to end on August 31.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a suicide attack outside Kabul airport killed at least two people and wounded 15, AP reported. It was the first official report specifying a number of casualties.
Another news has come, where the Taliban stops 140 Hindu, Sikh Afghans from leaving Kabul airport, said president of the Indian World Forum Puneet Singh, who has been coordinating the evacuation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The development has forced a delay in the departure of a special IAF aircraft, which has been waiting at the Kabul airport since Wednesday. The Indian World Forum said the Taliban turned back the passengers from outside the airport on Wednesday night.
The Hindu had reported that around 200 Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan, including other citizens of the country, were scheduled to arrive in the Hindon airbase by Thursday morning. But the movement has been stopped, as the Taliban reportedly blocked those approaching the airport.
The Taliban has been urging Afghan nationals not to leave the country and work with the Islamic Emirate that it aims to set up in the coming weeks. Sources said India had moved out a total of 565 stranded individuals from Afghanistan since evacuation flights began. This included 175 personnel of the Indian embassy, 263 other Indian nationals, and 112 Afghan nationals, including Hindus and Sikhs.
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