A deadly terror attack near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport took the lives of at least 90
Afghans and 13 US soldiers. There are also more than 150 wounded from the blasts, an official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health told CNN Friday (Aug. 27).
Two blasts and gunfire rocked the area outside the airport on Thursday (Aug. 26) evening, Reuters reported citing witnesses. The first targeted the Abbey Gate – where US and British forces have been processing people entering the airport – and was followed by gunfire. Minutes later, the second blast occurred at a hotel that is being used by British officials to process Afghans hoping to travel to the UK, according to the BBC.
The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State group, reportedly claimed responsibility for the blasts, saying its suicide bombers singled out “translators and collaborators with the American army”.
It was the worst single-day loss for American troops in Afghanistan since the August 2011 attack on a Chinook helicopter when 30 personnel died.
Several countries have condemned the attacks, including Russia, France, and Turkey.
KABUL SUICIDE ATTACKS: @IanPannell reports after the devastating terror attacks in Kabul that killed at least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans, with Pres. Biden addressing the nation, calling the Americans who lost their lives "heroes." https://t.co/uYhQDir8yx pic.twitter.com/ZVkUYie6jM
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 27, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden addressed those responsible for the attack, saying, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
“I’ll defend our interests and our people with every measure in my command,” the Democrat President said. “I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” he added.
“We have some reason to believe we know who they are,” Biden said, “And we will find ways for our choosing, without large military operations, to get them, wherever they are.”
U.S. forces are racing to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by an Aug. 31 deadline set by Biden while a NATO country diplomat in Kabul said all foreign forces were aiming to evacuate their citizens and embassy employees by Aug. 30.
In the past 12 days, more than 100,000 people- including 66,000 from the US and 37,000 from allies and partners- have been evacuated from Afghanistan, which fell to the Taliban in mid-August.
About 5,000 people are waiting at the airport and many more are still trying to get through the perimeter checkpoints.
According to The Politico, U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport. The move, detailed to the American political journalism company by three U.S. and congressional officials, has angered lawmakers and military officials.
With reporting by Reuters, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Politico