As Biden’s deadline approaches, an apparent suicide bombing rattles the Afghanistan evacuation.
The frantic closing stages of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan were shaken Thursday by an apparent suicide bomb strike outside Kabul airport, with time running short to rescue up to 1,500 Americans. The situation of escaping Afghans is becoming increasingly bleak by the hour.
According to three US officials and a source familiar with the incident, US employees were among the injured in the blast, according to initial reports. Afghans were hurt, according to one official.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted, “We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update.”
We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
According to Jonathan Beale of the BBC, the initial explosion at Kabul airport was followed by a second explosion and small weapons fire. Both explosions occurred near the airport’s Abbey gate entrance, where a huge group of Afghan refugees had collected for several days.
US officials in Kabul abruptly advised American citizens to “immediately” evacuate multiple airport gates, citing security threats, where Afghans wanting to join the US airlift have been gathering in large numbers for days. The warning came only hours after a US defense official told CNN that officials were concerned about a “very precise threat stream” about an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan planning to assault crowds outside the airport.
US President Joe Biden has been updated on the issue and is keeping an eye on it, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected to chair an emergency meeting later.
Images from the aftermath of the attack outside Kabul airport appear to show injured persons being taken in wheelbarrows with bloodied garments. Some of the photos, which were shared on Twitter by Afghanistan’s Tolo news agency, show men, women, and children fleeing the scene, some with improvised bandages on their heads.
یک انفجار در نزدیک میدان هوایی کابل رخ دادهاست. تاکنون چندین از زخمیان این رویداد، برای درمان به شفاخانه ایمرجنسی، انتقال یافتهاند. pic.twitter.com/6EEJ1weBej— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 26, 2021
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