Loading...

Suicide Bombings Blast Kabul, Killing American Service Members and Civilians

August 26, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
Suicide Bombings Blast Kabul, Killing American Service Members and Civilians
In this frame grab from video, people attend to a wounded man near the site of a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Two suicide bombers and gunmen have targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport, in the waning days of a massive airlift that has drawn thousands of people seeking to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan — A pair of suicide bombings near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which happened on Thursday morning, killed civilians and American personnel, U.S. officials say.

American officials suspect an affiliate group of the Islamic State operating in Afghanistan, ISIS- K, of responsibility for the bombings. They describe the group as an enemy of the Taliban as well as the U.S.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed in a statement released on Twitter that one blast occurred at Abbey Gate, a primary entrance to Kabul’s airport, and another occurred close by, near the Baron Hotel.

The airport, just a few miles from Kabul’s city center, is the site of efforts to evacuate American citizens and imperiled Afghans from the country before the looming Aug. 31 American troop withdrawal deadline.

At least 22 people were killed and dozens wounded.

U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP)

In a written statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Kirby said that “a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport,” adding that others were being treated for wounds and that “a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack.”

The dead include 11 Marines and one Navy medic, according to two U.S. officials. They said another 12 service members were wounded and warned the toll could grow.

Emergency, an Italian charity that operates hospitals in Afghanistan, said it had received at least 60 patients wounded in the airport attack, in addition to 10 who were dead when they arrived.

It’s unclear exactly how this will impact the evacuation efforts.

“Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible,” Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter.

“I strongly condemn this act of terrorism and it must be clear to the world that the terrorists who perpetrated this will be sought and brought to justice,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.-NY, said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, President Biden had reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to leaving Afghanistan in front of leaders from the G7, the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union.

In a briefing about the meeting, Biden said that he’d received warnings about a possible attack from ISIS-K which he described as “the sworn enemy of the Taliban.”

The New York Times has reported that the U.S. Marines guarding Abbey Gate had been warned of an imminent terror threat but had continued to process people trying to get out.

Prior to the explosions, the White House had reported that 13,400 people were evacuated from Afghanistan between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, with about 8,300 people having been airlifted by coalition aircraft from Kabul. 

An update from U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Wednesday said that around 82,300 people have been safely evacuated from Kabul since August 14th, including 4,500 U.S. passport holders. Of that 82,300, about 45-46% have been women and children, Blinken said.

The secretary also commented that these figures are fast-changing, “fluid.”

Tracking the precise number of Americans still in the region is difficult, especially since registration with American embassies is voluntary and the counts are complex, Blinken said. 

During Wednesday’s briefing, Blinken had said that the department had “direct contact” with 500 American citizens and had given instructions on how to get to the airport, and it was trying to reach an additional 1,000 people who may be Americans trying to leave.

However, those numbers do not include American green card holders or applicants for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program.

The Taliban has “strongly condemned” the bombings, according to reporting.

In The News

Health

Voting

International

Blinken Postpones China Trip Following Balloon Discovery

BEIJING (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a planned high-stakes weekend diplomatic trip to China as the... Read More

BEIJING (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed a planned high-stakes weekend diplomatic trip to China as the Biden administration weighs a broader response to the discovery of a high-altitude Chinese balloon flying over sensitive sites in the western United States, a U.S. official... Read More

February 2, 2023
by Kate Michael
Boris Johnson Tells US 'Putin Won't Go Nuclear'

WASHINGTON — The day after former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin had... Read More

WASHINGTON — The day after former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier threatened him with a missile strike in a phone call leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the statesman was in Washington at the D.C.-based... Read More

January 31, 2023
by Kate Michael
No Breakthroughs Expected From Blinken’s Upcoming China Visit

WASHINGTON — There is little hope for an improvement in relations between the U.S. and China even as Secretary of... Read More

WASHINGTON — There is little hope for an improvement in relations between the U.S. and China even as Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans his visit to Beijing this weekend. Top experts on China from the D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies suggest... Read More

January 20, 2023
by Kate Michael
First US Subnational Diplomacy Rep. Says ‘A Lot Can Happen at the Local Level’

WASHINGTON — From securing medical supplies for their residents to attracting foreign investment and manufacturing, cities, states and regions are... Read More

WASHINGTON — From securing medical supplies for their residents to attracting foreign investment and manufacturing, cities, states and regions are taking a greater role in international affairs. The momentum is not unprecedented, but it is strong enough that the first-ever special representative of subnational diplomacy was... Read More

At Davos, UN Chief Warns the World Is in a 'Sorry State'

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The world is in a “sorry state" because of myriad interlinked challenges including climate change and... Read More

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The world is in a “sorry state" because of myriad interlinked challenges including climate change and Russia's war in Ukraine that are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash,” the U.N. chief said at the World Economic Forum's meeting Wednesday. U.N. Secretary-General... Read More

January 18, 2023
by Kate Michael
Dutch Ambassador Calls for Accountability From Russia

WASHINGTON — Prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, went from a meeting with President Biden at the White House... Read More

WASHINGTON — Prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, went from a meeting with President Biden at the White House on Tuesday — where the Dutch leader said his country plans to join the U.S. and Germany’s efforts to train and arm Ukraine with advanced Patriot... Read More

News From The Well