At least two explosions have reportedly rocked the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing and wounding several people including Americans trying to get out of the country and setting off new chaos in what was already a frenetic situation as the U.S. continues emergency evacuation operations.
The Pentagon has confirmed the first explosion, which was reportedly the result of a suicide bomber.
At least three U.S. Marines were reported wounded in the explosion, but it’s unclear how severely. Other Americans were also wounded, according to accounts posted online.
3 Marines injured INSIDE the wire.
Possibly ISIS terrorists. https://t.co/AhmhtVSpaJ
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) August 26, 2021
**UPDATE: The Wall St Journal is reporting this afternoon that four US Marines were killed and three wounded in the explosions outside the Kabul airport.
“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby noted in a tweet.
Kabul Emergency hospital:
🔴 More than 30 patients have arrived at our #Kabul Surgical Centre so far. 6 others already dead on arrival. We have activated all mass casualty protocols. #Kabulairport #Afghanistan
— Ziar Khan Yaad (@ziaryaad) August 26, 2021
One U.S. official said that the attacks also ignited a firefight near Abbey Gate, where there were about 5,000 Afghanis and perhaps some Americans seeking entrance to the airport last night.
“Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated by the US military and NATO allies from the airport in the past two weeks. These evacuations are set to start winding down in the next few days, ahead of the August 31 deadline for the final exit from a 20-year war in Afghanistan,” CNN reported.
Witness accounts posted to social media confirmed U.S. casualties, while some also noted that American troops returned fire.
BREAKING — Our sources describe absolute mayhem right now at HKIA.
-Several U.S. casualties
-U.S. troops returned fire after first explosion
-NATO troops ordered to leave airport gates immediately
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) August 26, 2021
The bombing comes after the State Department warned hours earlier that Americans near the gates of the airport should “leave immediately” over intelligence reports of increasing threats of terrorism, said reports.
President Joe Biden has reportedly been briefed on the bombing, Fox News said.
Others reported that attacks are expected to continue and that the terror group ISIS-K may be involved.
NEW: Source briefed on the situation in Kabul tells me “hundreds of ISIS-K in the vicinity, attacks likely to continue”
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) August 26, 2021
Fox News confirmed minutes later that there was a second explosion near the airport as well.
Earlier, Biden said he would not be extending the Aug. 31 evacuation deadline in part due to rising threats of terrorism.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both US forces and allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said, citing intelligence reports.
ISIS-K was founded around 2015 with the goal of establishing a hardline Islamic califate across the Khorasan, which includes Afghanistan and Pakistan along with portions of Central Asia.
The group reportedly has about 10,000 fighters and is led by a warlord and former al-Qaeda member Shahab al-Muhajir, known as “The Urban Lion.” ISIS-K has said they consider the Taliban to be not Islamic extremist enough.
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
While the Taliban was planning a suicide bomb attack on our troops, which resulted in likely dozens of deaths, the White House was focused on attacking Ron DeSantis.
You can't make this stuff up. https://t.co/oXKYn12hDx
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 26, 2021
This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.
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