KABUL: Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport on Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one among horror within the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.
The attacks killed a minimum of 60 Afghans and 12 US troops, Afghan and US officials said.
The US general overseeing the evacuation vowed the us would follow the perpetrators of the bombings, and warned that more such attacks are expected.
“We are working very right now to work out attribution, to work out who is related to this cowardly attack. And we’re prepared to require action against them,” Gen Frank McKenzie, head folks Central Command, told Pentagon reporters during a briefing. “Twenty-four-seven. We are trying to find them.”
Shortly after McKenzie spoke, the militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel.
Injured people reach a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.
McKenzie said the attacks wouldn’t stop the us from evacuating Americans et al. , and flights out were continuing. He said there was an outsized amount of security at the airport, and alternate routes were getting used to urge evacuees in.
US officials said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among the dead.
McKenzie said another 15 service members were wounded. Officials warned the toll could grow. quite 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.
One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep during a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. those that moments earlier had hoped to urge on flights out might be seen carrying the wounded to ambulances during a daze, their own clothes darkened with blood.
The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is way more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country during a lightning blitz and condemned the attack.
Western officials had warned of a serious attack, urging people to go away the airport, but that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans wanting to escape the country within the previous couple of days of an American-led evacuation before the US officially ends its 20-year presence on Aug 31.
Emergency, an Italian charity that operates hospitals in Afghanistan, said it had received a minimum of 60 patients wounded within the airport attack, additionally to 10 who were dead once they arrived.
Surgeons are going to be working into the night, said Marco Puntin, the charity’s manager in Afghanistan. The wounded overflowed the triage zone into the physiotherapy area and more beds were being added, he said.
The Afghan official who confirmed the general Afghan toll spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to brief media.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one explosion was near an airport entrance and another was a brief distance away by a hotel.
McKenzie said clearly some failure at the airport allowed a terrorist to urge so on the brink of the gate.
He said the Taliban had 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 had asked the Taliban commanders to tighten security round the airport’s perimeter.
Adam Khan was waiting nearby when he saw the primary explosion outside what’s referred to as the Abbey gate. He said several people seemed to are killed or wounded, including some who were maimed.
The second blast was at or near Baron Hotel, where many of us , including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to collect in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation.
Additional explosions might be heard later, but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said some blasts were administered by the US forces to destroy their equipment.
A former Royal Marine who runs an animal shelter in Afghanistan said he and his staff were trapped within the aftermath of the blast near the airport.
“All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted; had our driver not rotated he would are shot within the head by a person with an AK-47,” Paul Pen Farthing told Britain’s press agency news agency.
Farthing is trying to urge staff of his Nowzad charity out of Afghanistan, along side the group’s rescued animals. he’s among thousands trying to escape .
In Washington, US President Joe Biden spent much of the morning within the secure White House Situation Room where he was briefed on the explosions and conferred together with his national security team and commanders on the bottom in Kabul.
Overnight, warnings emerged from Western capitals a few threat from IS, which has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during its advance through Afghanistan.
Shortly before the attack, the acting US ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said the safety threat at the Kabul airport overnight was clearly considered credible, as imminent, as compelling. But in an interview with ABC News, he wouldn’t explain .
Late on Wednesday, the US Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to go away immediately thanks to an unspecified security threat. Australia, Britain and New Zealand also advised their citizens on Thursday to not attend the airport.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any attack was imminent at the airport, where the group’s fighters have deployed and infrequently used heavy-handed tactics to regulate the crowds. After the attack, he seemed to shirk blame, noting the airport is controlled by US troops.
Before the blast, the Taliban sprayed a water cannon at those gathered at one airport gate to undertake to drive the gang away, as someone launched tear gas canisters elsewhere.
Pakistan strongly condemned the heinous surprise attack in Kabul and conveyed sympathies to the affected families.
A statement issued by the ministry in Islamabad said: “Pakistan condemns terrorism altogether its forms and manifestations. We convey our sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the first recovery of these injured.”