An explosion occurred outside of Kabul airport, killing at least 13 people, including children, a Taliban official said, after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area of a threat by Islamic State. The official also confirmed several Taliban guards were wounded in the attack.
Pentagon Press Secretary, John Kirby, said that several US service members were among the wounded and number of causalities were unclear at the time. He added that a detailed report will be provided when it becomes available.
We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
Thousands of people had been gathering outside Kabul airport in recent days in an attempt to catch a flight and flee the country after the Taliban took control of the country. The western troops are trying to evacuate foreigners and Afghans who helped fight the 20-year war against the Taliban as well as get themselves out by an August 31th deadline.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary confirm later on Twitter. “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate.”
We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
The Abbey Gate is the main entryway into the International airport. The US Embassy in Kabul warned citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates, and urged Americans who were at the Abbey Gate, East Gate or North Gate entrances to leave immediately due to possible threat of attack by Daesh.
According to the details, the explosion at the Kabul airport was caused by at least one suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. A man who witnessed the attack told the Afghan broadcaster TOLO News that “dead bodies and wounded people were scattered everywhere after the explosion happened,” and added that he had seen foreign forces “on the ground.”
“It was a very powerful explosion — we carried out the casualties on carts, and look at my clothes covered in blood,” he added, pointing to bloodstains while sporadic gunfire and alarms could be heard from elsewhere in the city.
Several countries had announced that airlift evacuations were being halted after concerns were raised over security situation at Kabul airport as deadline for US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan came close.