Medical sources said at least 60 people were killed in bombings outside Kabul airport, in an attack claimed by ISIS.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans at Kabul airport, turning a spectacle of despair into a spectacle of terror in the final days of the airlift for those fleeing Taliban control.
Medical sources told the island that at least 60 people were killed and dozens wounded in Thursday’s bombings.
Among the dead were dozens of civilians and 12 US service members.
Here’s what we know so far:
And two explosions occurred outside the vicinity of Kabul airport. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said an explosion occurred near the entrance to Abbey Jet Airport.
One of the bombers hit Afghans who were knee-deep in a sewage canal in the scorching sun, throwing the bodies into the fetid water.
The second explosion occurred at or near the Baron Hotel, where several people, including Afghans, British and Americans, were asked to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation.
The Taliban’s capture of Kabul on August 15 led to a mass exodus of foreign citizens and workers, along with Afghans who worked with foreign armies and groups to flee to the airport.
Who is behind the attack?
The group’s Amaq news agency said on its Telegram channel that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The ISIS branch in Afghanistan, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), opposes Western countries as well as the Taliban, which recently took control of the country in a wrongful attack and condemned the attack.
ISKP members, who have links to the group’s most notorious affiliate in Syria and Iraq, have carried out a series of brutal attacks, primarily targeting the Shiite minority in Afghanistan, including the 2020 attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul where they killed women and victims. infants.
In the hours following the blast, a Taliban and Russian officials said at least 13 people were killed in the blasts, and several more were wounded.
Medical sources told Al Jazeera later on Thursday that at least 60 people were killed in the blast. Media reports, citing Afghan officials, confirmed that at least 60 Afghan civilians were killed and more than 140 Afghans were wounded in the attacks.
The Pentagon confirmed that at least 12 US service members were killed in the attack and 15 others were wounded.
Was the attack a surprise?
Overnight warnings emerged on Wednesday from Western capitals about a threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has strengthened its ranks with the Taliban releasing prisoners during its advance through Afghanistan.
Late Wednesday, the US Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately due to an unspecified security threat. Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand also advised their citizens on Thursday not to go to the airport.
Western officials warned of a major attack and urged people to leave the airport, but this advice was largely undone by Afghans desperate to flee the country in the past few days of the US-led evacuation before the US officially ended its 20-year existence. Per day. August 31.
Amid warnings and an impending US withdrawal, Canada has ended its evacuations, and several European countries have either halted or prepared to halt their operations.
But Pentagon spokesman Kirby said some planes will continue to fly.
The evacuations in Kabul will not be finished in 36 hours. “We will continue to evacuate as many people as possible until the end of the mission,” he said in a tweet.
The Taliban said they would allow Afghans to leave via commercial flights after the August 31 deadline next week, but it was not yet clear which airlines would return to an airport controlled by the group.