At least two blasts were reported near the Kabul airport amidst chaotic evacuations from Afghanistan on Thursday, with U.S. military soldiers among casualties of what was referred to as ‘complex attack.’ A Taliban official said the attack killed more than 13 people, including children, and wounded many Taliban soldiers. U.S. authorities said they were afraid that further attacks could happen in Kabul after the two explosions.
A U. S. Official reported that as many as five American military officers may have been affected, and at least one being seriously hurt. U. S. Officials have said about 5,200 American soldiers are helping in maintaining security at the Kabul airport. The blasts occurred after the U.S. and allies asked Afghans to evacuate the area following a threat by Islamic State militants.
A source conversant with U. S. Congressional information said American officials firmly believe that the Afghan associate of the Islamic State, called Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), was accountable. The Taliban and America oppose the group. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesperson, said one explosion happened near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other one not far away from nearby Baron Hotel. Two American officials said at least one of the blasts seemed to be from a suicide bombing.
“We can confirm that the blast at Abbey Gate was caused by a complex attack that resulted in several U.S. and civilian casualties,” John wrote on Twitter. “We can also affirm at least one other blast occurred near the Baron Hotel, not so far from Abbey Gate.” The American embassy in Kabul described it as “a large explosion” and said there had been reports of gunshots.
A source who talked with a witness via text message reported that the witness said there seemed to have been two different but simultaneous blasts, one by a suicide bomber close to buses queued up outside Abbey Gate and small gunfire accompanied it. The other one took place at the nearby Baron Hotel. The source, reporting on the condition of anonymity, quoted the witness as claiming that children were wounded in the attack.
The United States has been evacuating Americans from Afghanistan and is hoping to fully withdraw from the nation by 31st August. However, there were no signs from the White House that Biden intends to change the 31st August withdrawal plan due to the attacks, a source familiar with the events told Reuters.
Biden was in a dialogue with security officials about the condition in Afghanistan, where the United States is in the final stage of ending its war when the first blast occurred. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley watched the events through video links.
In an alert notice given on Wednesday, the American Embassy in Kabul had warned people against moving to the airport and said those already there should leave immediately, referring to an uncertain security threat.