Multiple US service members have been killed, the Pentagon has now confirmed
US officials have confirmed the deaths of up to four US service members after two suspected suicide bomb attacks on Kabul airport.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon, confirmed that Americans had died and that at least two blasts occurred, with one taking place near the airport’s Abbey Gate, where many Americans used to arrive at the airport.
According to Mr Kirby, “a number” of US service members were killed; he was equally vague about the number of US troops injured.
He referred to the scene as a “complex attack”, while news organisations and officials from other countries went further and confirmed that they resulted from suicide bombings. A gunfight involving NATO forces also reportedly erupted after the first blast occurred.
A report by the Wall Street Journal citing a US official put the death toll at four marines with multiple troops injured.
A Taliban official initially told reporters that 13 people including some Taliban security guards had died in the blast, though that number could rise.
No organisation is yet to take responsibility for the attack but Taliban, 英国, and US officials pointed to Isis-aligned forces as likely responsible for the bombing.
US officials made clear in congressional briefings that they “strongly believe” Isis to be involved, according to Reuters.
“[吨]he Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing of civilians at Kabul airport,” a spokesperson for the Taliban said, adding “the Islamic Emirate is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circles will be strictly stopped.”
Adam Khan, an Afghan waiting outside the airport, said the first blast went off in a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport. 汗, who was about 30 yards away, said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who lost body parts.
A former interpreter with UK forces who was with his wife, and two young children waiting for an evacuation flight reportedly 说: “It was like doomsday, injured people everywhere”.
Emergency, a volunteer group that runs war surgery hospitals and first aid posts across Afghanistan, said some people were dead on arrival. “We have activated all mass casualty protocols,“ 它说.
Another witness to the explosion described the horrific scene in an interview with Fox News.
“Inside the crowd, a lot of people got hurt,” said the man, who was identified by the network as a Afghan national and special immigrant visa (SIV) applicant who had previously worked with US forces in the country.
“I had a baby girl– she was 5 岁. She died right in my hand,’ he continued explaining that the child belonged to another couple. “I tried to help her.”
Thousands of Afghans have been gathered at the airport for days trying to escape from the country since the 塔利班 takeover earlier this month.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was first to confirm the news of the deaths around noon eastern US time on Thursday after initial reports of the blasts came in.
Mr Johnson told reporters that he could ‘confirm that there’s been a barbaric terrorist attack” in Kabul, adding that “members of the US military have, very sadly, lost their lives”.
President Biden, who was scheduled to meet on Thursday with Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett, cleared his agenda in the wake of the attack and is huddled with his team in the Situation Room.
US lawmakers reacted to the news of the blast with shock.
“Horrific terrorist attacks outside Kabul airport. My heart breaks for the U.S. servicemembers wounded in the explosion and the innocent Afghan lives lost. I am inspired by the strength and compassion of our troops and pray for their safety,” tweeted Sen Mitt Romney.