Afghanistan news - live: Isis claims responsibility for Kabul airport attack after US service members killed

·54-min read

At least 12 US military personnel and scores of Afghan civilians died in suicide bombing attacks around Kabul airport today.

The number of civilian deaths has been reported by the BBC to be at least 60. The Wall Street Journal has put the number at about 90, and its total death toll – including the US military fatalities – exceeds 100.

The number of injured people in Afghanistan’s capital city has been estimated to be between 120 and 150.

The exact number of fatalities and wounded people is not yet known.

There were two explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate and the nearby Baron hotel.

The devastating attacks near the airfield took place while thousands of Afghans continued their desperate attempts to flee the country after the Taliban’s takeover.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said no British troops or officials have been hurt in the blasts, that US officials said were carried out with suicide bomb vests.

It comes after the UK and US had warned of a “highly lethal” terror attack and urged people to stay away from the airport.

British prime minister Boris Johnson had admitted that “time is short” to evacuate people before Tuesday’s deadline.

Read More

Were American weapons left behind in Afghanistan amid chaotic withdrawal?

‘We were betrayed’: Top Afghan general points finger at Trump, Biden and Ghani for Taliban victory

Woman who escaped Taliban death sentence says they will never change: ‘They are the enemy of the world’

Key Points

  • Isis claims responsibility for attacks

  • Threat of attack using vehicle ‘high’ in Kabul

  • US will ‘go after’ groups behind Kabul suicide bombings

  • 11 US Marines and Navy medic dead – report

  • At least 60 wounded in Kabul blasts

  • No British troops or officials hurt in bomb blasts

US joins UK and Australia in warning against travel to Kabul airport

Thursday 26 August 2021 05:28 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The US has issued a warning against travelling to the Kabul airport amid threats of terror attacks.

The UK and Australian governments have also issued similar warnings.

The US embassy in Kabul advised US citizens at a number of gates at the airport to “leave immediately” and said that there were “security threats outside the gates.”

Since the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban more than 10 days ago, more than 82,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul.

Meanwhile, thousands are still stranded in Afghanistan and countries are rushing to airlift as many people by the 31 August deadline.

More than 10,000 people at Kabul airport waiting to be evacuated

Thursday 26 August 2021 05:35 , Maroosha Muzaffar

More than 10,000 people at the Kabul airport are waiting to be evacuated, according to Pentagon sources.

Ninety flights left in the past 24 hours with 19,000 people — a new daily record, according to Major General Hank Taylor.

He said 11,700 of the total 19,000 left on 42 US military transports.

The Pentagon said another 7,800 went on 48 planes flown by coalition nations and other countries.

On average, a flight left Kabul every 39 minutes, Maj Gen Taylor said in the morning briefing.

Since the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban more than 10 days ago, more than 82,000 people have been evacuated from the city.

Taliban agree to let Afghans after 31 August deadline, says German envoy

Thursday 26 August 2021 05:46 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The German envoy has said that a Taliban negotiator has convinced him that Afghans with the “right documents” shall be allowed to leave Afghanistan after the US withdrawal deadline on 31 August.

Markus Potzel tweeted that he met with the Taliban deputy chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai who “assured me that Afghans with legal documents will continue to have the opportunity to travel on commercial flights after 31 August.”

The German embassy in Kabul had earlier advised “all German nationals to leave Afghanistan the fastest possible by commercial means” and said that their “capacities for consular assistance to German nationals are extremely limited.”

On Tuesday, Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister said Berlin will seek to fly people out from the civilian part of the airport beyond the 31 August deadline.

Internal UN document says Taliban threatened, beat staff

Thursday 26 August 2021 06:06 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The Taliban threatened and beat United Nations staff shortly before it swept to power, according to an internal UN security document accessed by news agency Reuters.

The Taliban “stopped an Afghan United Nations staff member as he tried to reach Kabul airport on Sunday,” said the document, according to Reuters. They searched the staff member’s vehicle and “found his UN identification”.“Then they beat him,” the document reveals.

On Monday, three men visited the home of another UN staffer who was at work at the time, said the document. They asked his son where his father was, and accused him of lying.

These are among dozens of incidents detailed in the document that mention the veiled threats, beatings, looting and physical abuse of the UN staff members days before the Taliban came to power in Kabul.

The UN has relocated a third of the 300 foreign staff it had in Afghanistan to Kazakhstan.

California students stranded in Afghanistan with their parents

Thursday 26 August 2021 06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Twenty-three California students are among thousands of Americans currently stranded in Kabul with their parents after taking a summer trip to visit family.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the students from the Cajon Valley Union School District, just outside San Diego, are stuck in Kabul with their parents.

The trip to Afghanistan was not sanctioned by the school, the report said.

The students had travelled to the country to visit their extended relatives.

The Cajon Valley Superintendent David Miyashiro told the LA Times that the students along with their parents had “travelled there on special visas for US military service.”

However, it wasn’t clear when they had arrived in Kabul.

Government warns of ‘high threat’ of terrorism attack as Afghans urged to escape across land border

Thursday 26 August 2021 07:19 , Joe Middleton

The Government warned of an “ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack” at Kabul airport on Wednesday night, as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace reportedly urged Afghans seeking refuge to travel across the border and to try and make their way to a third country.

Mr Wallace held a briefing with MPs on Wednesday, where he is reported to have said it would be a “better option” for those who still need to leave the country to travel across the border.

The Government has previously said it will increase diplomatic support in neighbouring countries to process refugees who escape from Afghanistan.

Crowding has been a challenge for troops to manage as they attempted to evacuate as many people as possible. But, now, an attack is feared, prompting instructions to stay away from the airport.

The Guardian reported that the concerns surrounded so-called Islamic State splinter cell, Isis-K, an enemy of the Taliban.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the threat from the group at the airport was “real, acute” and “persistent”.

Blinken challenged over ‘betrayed’ US workers stranded in Afghanistan

Thursday 26 August 2021 07:52 , Joe Middleton

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was challenged by a reporter over the US-employed Afghan staff who feel “completely betrayed” at being left stranded in the country.

Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said that many local staff employed by the US Embassy in Kabul have been prevented from reaching the city’s international airport because of Taliban checkpoints.

“We evacuated our embassy and there have been cables back that I know you must be familiar with, or your teams are, of people who feel completely betrayed,” she said.

Blinken confronted on air over ‘betrayed’ US embassy workers in Afghanistan

‘Window of opportunity to evacuate is closing’ says minister

Thursday 26 August 2021 07:54 , Joe Middleton

Armed forces minister James Heappey said of Afghanistan the “window of opportunity to evacuate people is closing”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We will do our best to protect those who are there. There is every chance that as further reporting comes in we may be able to change the advice again and process people anew but there’s now guarantee of that.

“But... the window of opportunity to evacuate people is closing. It’s not as simply a case of we can pause, deal with the threat and pick up where we left off.”

He said there will be 11 more flights out of Kabul on Thursday but declined to say whether there will be more on Friday, citing the security of troops.

Pen Farthing stuck with 200 dogs and cats at Kabul airport in desperate bid to flee

Thursday 26 August 2021 08:10 , Joe Middleton

Former Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing has issued a desperate plea for help from outside Kabul airport, where he and his team are stuck with 200 animals waiting for a flight home.

The founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad has captured the country’s attention over the past week as he tries to evacuate his staff and the charity’s cats and dogs.

Writing on social media, he appealed directly to The Taliban, saying: “Dear Sir; my team & my animals are stuck at airport circle. We have a flight waiting. Can you please facilitate safe passage into the airport for our convoy?”

Holly Bancroft has the details.

Ex-marine stuck with 200 dogs and cats at Kabul airport in desperate bid to flee

Terrorist attack at Kabul airport could come within ‘hours’, says UK minister

Thursday 26 August 2021 08:19 , Joe Middleton

A possible terror attack at Kabul airport could come within “hours”, Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey warned on Thursday – saying the threat was “credible and imminent”.

The defence minister described the terror threat to people outside Kabul airport as “lethal” amid concerns over an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State in Afghanistan, Isis-K.

Adam Forrest reports.

Terrorist attack in Kabul could come within ‘hours’, says UK minister

Congressman accused of ‘Instagram’ trip to Kabul hits back at ‘laughable’ Pentagon

Thursday 26 August 2021 08:38 , Joe Middleton

An unannounced trip made by two congressmen to Kabul this week amid an intense evacuation effort has come under heavy criticism from Pentagon and other representatives of the House, who have called the act “reprehensible.”

Republican Peter Meijer and Democratic Seth Moulton secretly slipped into war-torn Afghanistan on Tuesday this week, stating that they went to the ground zero to observe the evacuation efforts.

Lashing at the two war veterans for making the visit during a critical moment, former CIA official Paul Mudd told CNN that mere criticism of their actions is “too polite.”

However, congressman Meijer dubbed the criticism as “laughable” and accused the Biden-led administration of hiding facts of the situation unfolding in Afghanistan from Americans.

Congressman accused of ‘Instagram’ trip to Kabul hits back at ‘laughable’ Pentagon

France will stop evacuations after Friday night

Thursday 26 August 2021 08:53 , Joe Middleton

France‘s prime minister says his country will no longer be able to evacuate people from Kabul airport after Friday night.

The announcement by Jean Castex on Thursday comes as the U.S. and Western allies face an Aug. 31 deadline to pull out of Afghanistan.

Thousands have been trying to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, many through Kabul’s international airport. That triggered a massive airlift of those trying to escape.

Castex told French radio RTL “from tomorrow evening onwards, we are not able to evacuate people from the Kabul airport” due to the Aug. 31 American withdrawal.

More than 2,000 Afghans and a hundred French people have been evacuated by France since the beginning of the operation last week.

Thursday 26 August 2021 09:03 , Joe Middleton

Former foreign secretary laments ‘desperate situation’ for aid workers

Thursday 26 August 2021 09:10 , Joe Middleton

Former foreign secretary David Miliband said many Afghans are scared that the withdrawal of troops from the country will also mean humanitarian aid workers will not be able to help millions of those in need.

Mr Miliband, chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that it’s a desperate situation for humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan at the moment. There’s also an invisible crisis which is also desperate.

“That’s a crisis of tens of millions of Afghans who need humanitarian aid, who need to be served by the humanitarian aid community who are desperately worried that the military withdrawal on the 31st of August will not just mean the end of the possibility of people to leave who need to do so but also will signal a humanitarian aid withdrawal, a diplomatic withdrawal, a political withdrawal that will leave them at the mercy of not just political events but of a collapsing economy, of Covid running rampant, of drought in 80% of the country.”

Dutch expect last evacuation flight to leave on Thursday

Thursday 26 August 2021 09:28 , Joe Middleton

The Dutch government expects to run its last evacuation flight out of Afghanistan on Thursday, it said in a letter to parliament.

“The Netherlands has been informed by the United States that it has to depart today and will most likely perform the last flights later today,” it said.

“This is a painful moment because it means that despite all the great efforts of the past period, people who are eligible for evacuation to the Netherlands will be left behind.”

Thursday 26 August 2021 09:39 , Joe Middleton

Care provider pledges to train and employ 500 refugees from Afghanistan

Thursday 26 August 2021 09:56 , Joe Middleton

One of the UK’s largest home care providers has pledged to train up and employ 500 refugees from Afghanistan as carers.

Cera, a start-up that uses technology to bring people services such as social care, nursing and repeat prescriptions in their own home, will work with more than 160 local councils and the Government to recruit, train and employ the refugees who come to the UK as part of its resettlement programme.

The Taliban this year launched an offensive that coincided with the withdrawal of most US and allied troops in the country. On Sunday 15 August, they captured the capital city of Afghanistan, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

Ella Glover reports.

Care provider pledges to train and employ 500 refugees from Afghanistan

Afghan journalist fears death if she stays in country

Thursday 26 August 2021 10:11 , Joe Middleton

An Afghan journalist is attempting to flee the country and fears the Taliban will kill her if she stays.

A clearly distressed Wahida Faizi told the BBC’s Lyse Doucet that she “must leave” and that she “can’t breathe” in Afghanistan.

She added: “They know I’m journalist...if they know, I know they will kill me.”

Hungary ends evacuations in Afghanistan

Thursday 26 August 2021 10:37 , Joe Middleton

Hungary is ending evacuations in Afghanistan after airlifting 540 people out of the country, the Hungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benko said on Thursday.

The two military passenger planes and all the troops involved in the operation have returned safely to Hungary, Mr Benko told a news conference.

Hungary had airlifted a total of 540 people from Afghanistan, including Hungarian, Austrian, Afghan and American nationals, flying them by military plane from Kabul to Uzbekistan, and then by commercial airline jet to Budapest.

Mr Benko added that 57 families had been airlifted, among them 180 children.

“As for Afghan nationals, 87% of them have been evacuated, those who contacted us in time and could remain in contact, we have airlifted all of them,” Benko said.

Hungary has been present with troops in Afghanistan since the start of the NATO mission in 2003.

Additional reporting by AP

Female Afghan National Army Captain shares experience of getting out of Kabul

Thursday 26 August 2021 10:49 , Joe Middleton

A female Afghan army captain has recounted the harsh conditions she witnessed in Taliban-controlled areas of Kabul before being flown to safety in the UK in footage released by the Ministry of Defence.

Captain Muraal, 26, was evacuated as part of the UK government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) alongside her immediate family, who were also in danger.

Muraal told the MoD: ”We had a lot of challenges. The first challenge was how to get out of our house, because all of the city is controlled by the Taliban.”

Watch: Female Afghan army captain shares experience of getting out of Kabul

UK has rescued 12,000 people from Afghanistan amid terror threat

Thursday 26 August 2021 11:05 , Joe Middleton

The RAF has so far airlifted more than 12,000 people out of Afghanistan in the race against time to help those fleeing the Taliban before the deadline for the departure of foreign forces.

But there are fears hundreds could be left behind, with a terror threat at Kabul airport heaping pressure on the evacuation effort during its final stages.

US president Joe Biden rejected calls from allies including Boris Johnson to extend his deadline for withdrawing US troops past Tuesday August 31 in order to prolong the humanitarian mission to airlift people to safety.

Citing security reasons, ministers have not set out the deadline for the departure of British troops but they are expected to have to pack up and leave ahead of the Americans, who are providing security at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Armed forces minister James Heappey said on Thursday that the UK has helped 12,279 people escape Afghanistan since August 13, when the Taliban was on its march back to power after the US drew down its troops.

That included 1,988 people on eight RAF flights in the past 24 hours, while 11 more were scheduled out of Kabul as part of Operation Pitting for Thursday.

The number of British citizens who still need evacuating, as well as those who hold dual citizenship, also remained unclear.

PA

Millions of children could be pushed into severe hunger after food price hike - Save the Children

Thursday 26 August 2021 11:16 , Joe Middleton

Millions of children in Afghanistan could be pushed into severe hunger after a spike in food prices, a leading global charity has warned.

The UN reported that prices for basic goods such as wheat, rice, sugar and cooking oil has increased by more than 50% compared with pre-COVID-19 prices.

Save the Children’s staff in Kabul, Faryab and Kunduz reported price hikes of up to 63% over the past month on goods such as flour, oil, beans and gas.

The organisation warned that rising costs will leave many families unable to afford basic items. Prices began rising at the outset of the pandemic, but the conflict in May have caused them to rise further.

The charity say an estimated 5.5 million Afghan children were already projected to face crisis levels of hunger in the second half of this year, but that this number could now rise due to the combined factors of Covid-19, drought and the Taliban takeover of the country.

Athena Rayburn, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children Afghanistan, said:“The spike in prices will push food out of reach for many families, particularly those who have been displaced from their homes and are living on next to nothing.

“Conflict, drought and COVID-19 have already pushed millions of children into hunger and misery in Afghanistan – now they could be pushed even closer to the brink of famine.”

UK deported 13 Afghans in past year and refused asylum to 400, new official figures

Thursday 26 August 2021 11:34 , Joe Middleton

The UK has sent 13 Afghan nationals back to their home country in the past year and refused asylum to more than 400, official figures show.

Government data published on Thursday shows that 497 Afghans in the UK were placed in immigration detention in the year to June 2021, with 218 detained in the first six months of this year.

Thirteen of those detained were subsequently returned to Afghanistan, five of whom were removed since the start of 2021, two between April and June, according to the figures.

UK returned 13 Afghans in past year and refused asylum to 400, official figures show

Qatar offers Covid-19 vaccines to evacuees from Afghanistan

Thursday 26 August 2021 11:42 , Joe Middleton

Qatar is offering COVID-19 vaccines to evacuees from Afghanistan who are temporarily staying in the Gulf Arab state, which has been facilitating global evacuation efforts since the Taliban seized Kabul, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Qatar, which hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region, has so far helped evacuate more than 40,000 people to Doha and will continue to facilitate international efforts in “the coming days”, the ministry said in a statement.

Those who do not immediately transit to other countries are being provided with a PCR test and COVID-19 vaccine, if requested, it said, adding that Doha is temporarily hosting “a large number of evacuees most of them students, families and journalists”.

Qatar has also agreed with the United States to temporarily host 8,000 Afghan nationals while the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have both said they would host 5,000.

Reuters

‘Overwhelming majority’ of evacuees now out of Afghanistan, says Boris Johnson

Thursday 26 August 2021 11:59 , Joanna Taylor

The “overwhelming majority” of people eligible for evacuation by the RAF from Kabul airport - around 15,000 people - have now left Afghanistan, Boris Johnson has said.

But he admitted “time is short” for more evacuations as 31 August deadline for pulling British and American forces from the country is fast approaching.

The Independent’s political editor Andrew Woodcock has the latest.

‘Overwhelming majority’ of evacuees now out of Afghanistan, says Boris Johnson

Watch: ‘Avalanche of love’: UK public have welcomed Afghan families, British Red Cross says

Thursday 26 August 2021 12:31 , Joanna Taylor

The UK public have welcomed Afghan families to the country with an “avalanche of love”, according to Edmore Hute, a refugee support manager at British Red Cross.

Hute said they are providing the evacuees with emotional support in their first few hours and days in the country, as well as essential items such as warm clothes and toiletries.

Watch here:

Watch: Afghans met with ‘avalanche of love’ in UK, British Red Cross says

Watch: Latest evacuation flight carrying 250 Afghan evacuees lands in UK

Thursday 26 August 2021 12:37 , Joanna Taylor

The latest Afghanistan flight arrived in Britain during the early hours of this morning carrying a further 250 Afghan evacuees.

An RAF Voyager aircraft arrived in RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire shortly after midnight last night after taking off from Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, The MoD confirmed.

More than 11,500 people have now arrived in the UK as part of the evacuation mission Operation Pitting.

The mission, which began on August 13, has relocated Afghan citizens after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan following the US-led withdrawal of western troops from the country.

Watch here:

Watch: Latest evacuation flight carrying 250 Afghan evacuees lands in UK

Home care company pledges to employ 500 refugees

Thursday 26 August 2021 12:48 , Joanna Taylor

Home care provider Cera has pledged to train and employ 500 refugees from Afghanistan as carers over the next five years.

The start-up helps people to access social, care, nursing and repeat prescriptions through its online service.

The company has said it will work with more than 160 local councils and the government to train new arrivals.

Ireland urges citizens to avoid Kabul airport

Thursday 26 August 2021 12:55 , Joanna Taylor

Ireland has become the latest western nation to urge its citizens in Afghanistan to avoid Kabul airport because of a “change in security status”.

The UK, US and Australia have also warned their citizens in Kabul of a potential terror attack, with British minister James Heappey saying that there is “very credible reporting of an “imminent” and “severe” threat.

Irish foreign affair minister Simon Coveney said: “Given the change in security status at Kabul Airport, remaining Irish citizens and residents in Kabul and beyond have been advised against coming to or remaining at the airport as gates are no longer open.”

Afghanistan: Pen Farthing stuck with 173 dogs and cats at Kabul airport in desperate bid to flee

Thursday 26 August 2021 13:04 , Joanna Taylor

Former Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing has issued a desperate plea for help from outside Kabul airport, where he and his team are stuck with 173 animals waiting for a flight home.

The founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad has captured the country’s attention over the past week as he tries to evacuate his staff and the charity’s cats and dogs.

Writing on social media, he appealed directly to The Taliban, saying: “Dear Sir; my team & my animals are stuck at airport circle. We have a flight waiting. Can you please facilitate safe passage into the airport for our convoy?

“Suhail Shaheen, We are an NGO who will come back to Afghanistan but right now I want to get everyone out safely.”

Continue reading:

Ex-marine stuck with 173 dogs and cats at Kabul airport in desperate bid to flee

Boris Johnson denies having ‘influence’ in animal rescue operation

Thursday 26 August 2021 13:18 , Joanna Taylor

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied having any “influence” in the push to rescue animals from a shelter in Kabul set up by a British Army veteran.

Following reports that claimed his wife, Carrie Johnson, had made a plea for the animals’ safe passage, Mr Johnson said: “I’ve had absolutely no influence on any particular case, nor would that be right.

“That’s not, that’s not how we do things in this country.”

Thursday 26 August 2021 13:39 , Joe Middleton

Shots fired at Italian plane flying out of Kabul, Rome defence source says

Thursday 26 August 2021 13:43 , Joe Middleton

Shots have been fired at an Italian military plane that flew out of Kabul, an Italian defence force source has said.

The plane was taking part in evacuation efforts from the airport, reports say.

An Italian journalist traveling on the flight told Sky 24 TG that the plane had been carrying almost 100 Afghan civilians when it came under fire minutes after take off.

Joanna Taylor has the details.

Shots fired at Italian plane flying out of Kabul, Rome defence source says

Hundreds of displaced families take refuge in Kabul park

Thursday 26 August 2021 14:03 , Joe Middleton

Hundreds of Afghan families who have been camping in searing heat at a Kabul park after the Taliban overran their provinces begged for food and shelter on Thursday.

Thousands of people are at the airport trying to flee the country after it was taken over by the Taliban, but others are stuck in limbo.

“I’m in a bad situation,” said Zahida Bibi, a housewife, sitting under the blazing sun with her large family. “My head hurts. I feel very bad, there is nothing in my stomach.”

Ahmed Waseem, displaced from northern Afghanistan said those in the park were hoping the central government would pay attention. “We are in an open field and in the heat,” he said.

Phalwan Sameer, also from northern Afghanistan, said his family came to Kabul after the situation rapidly deteriorated in his home town.

“There (was) a lot of fighting and bombing as well. That’s why we came here. The houses were burned and we became homeless,” he said.

The United Nations says more than 18 million people - over half of Afghanistan‘s population - require aid and half of all Afghan children under the age of five already suffer from acute malnutrition amid the second drought in four years.

The Taliban have assured the UN that it can pursue humanitarian work as foreign governments weigh the issue of whether and how to support the population under hardline Islamist rule.

Hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of Kabul airport on Thursday (AP)
Hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of Kabul airport on Thursday (AP)

Poland becomes first European country to halt Afghan evacuations

Thursday 26 August 2021 14:25 , Joe Middleton

Poland has become the first country in Europe to end its evacuations from Afghanistan, making it one of the first Western countries to put an end to operations helping people leave the country following the Taliban takeover.

Marcin Przydacz, a Polish deputy foreign minister, said that Poland had evacuated its last group, reasoning that the lives of Polish soldiers and diplomats could not continue to be risked.

He explained: “We cannot risk the lives of our diplomats and of our soldiers any longer.”

Eleanor Sly reports.

Poland becomes first European country to halt Afghan evacuations

Pentagon denies Afghanistan evacuations will end in 36 hours amid Kabul airport confusion

Thursday 26 August 2021 14:43 , Joe Middleton

A spokesman for the Department of Defense directly refuted a CNN story on Thursday that claimed the Biden administration would conclude rescues from Kabul in 36 hours, declaring instead that the evacuations would continue until no longer needed.

John Kirby tweeted on Thursday that “[e]vacuation operations in Kabul will not be wrapping up in 36 hours”, and while not mentioning the CNN piece his comments still directly refuted the news reported by the network early Thursday morning.

“We will continue to evacuate as many people as we can until the end of the mission,” he said.

John Bowden has the details.

Pentagon denies Afghanistan evacuations will end in 36 hours amid Kabul airport confusion

Reports of casualties after blast at Afghanistan evacuation site

Thursday 26 August 2021 14:53 , Joe Middleton

An explosion has happened outside Kabul airport where thousands of people are crowded together in an effort to flee, the US Pentagon says.

It is unclear whether there have been any casualties so far, officials say.

Thousands of Afghans have been gathered at the airport for days trying to escape from the country since the Taliban takeover earlier this month. Western nations had warned of a possible attack.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has confirmed an explosion, he tweeted: “We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can.”

Explosion at Kabul airport evacuation site

Tory MP heard Kabul explosion while on the phone

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:10 , Joe Middleton

Tory MP Nus Ghani said she heard the explosion in Kabul while she was on the telephone to an Afghan outside the airport.

She tweeted: “Explosion at Kabul airport. I was on the phone to an Afghan outside the airport when he heard the explosion.

“Praying that he gets away safely and we get his family safe passage out of this nightmare.”

Early reports suggest explosion caused by suicide bomber

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:18 , Joe Middleton

An explosion outside Kabul airport appeared to be caused by a suicide bomb, a US official has told Reuters, citing an initial report and cautioning that it could change.

Sky’s Stuart Ramsay has said that the suicide bomber was detonated the device at the airport’s perimeter, but not in the airport itself.

UK Defence ministry ‘working urgently’ to find out what has happened following explosion

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:20 , Joe Middleton

Britain’s defence ministry said it was working urgently to establish what had happened at Kabul airport following reports of an explosion.

“We are working urgently to establish what has happened in Kabul and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort,” the defence ministry said on Twitter.

“Our primary concern remains the safety of our personnel, British citizens and the citizens of Afghanistan. We are in close contact with our U.S. and other NATO allies at an operational level on the immediate response to this incident.”

US service members among those injured, source says

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:22 , Joe Middleton

US service members are reportedly among those injured in the blast in Kabul on Thursday, an official told Reuters.

There have been two separate explosions in Kabul - Turkish Defence Ministry

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:28 , Joe Middleton

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that two separate explosions occurred outside Kabul airport, adding there was no damage to Turkish units in the area.

Earlier, the US Pentagon press secretary said there had been an explosion outside Kabul airport.

Afghan man says he saw ‘several people killed or wounded’ after Kabul blast

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:32 , Joe Middleton

An Afghan man says he saw several people who appeared to be killed or wounded in an explosion among crowds waiting outside one of the gates to Kabul airport.

Adam Khan says some people appeared to be missing body parts. He says he was about 30 meters (yards) from Thursday’s blast.T

he explosion occurred as Western nations are struggling to evacuate people following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

At least 13 killed in explosion, says Taliban official

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:34 , Joe Middleton

An explosion outside Kabul airport killed at least 13 people, including children, and wounded many Taliban guards, a Taliban official told Reuters.

US embassy in Kabul urges people to leave airport area ‘immediately'

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:36 , Joe Middleton

The US Dept of State Bureau of Consular Affairs tweeted: “There has been a large explosion at the airport, and there are reports of gunfire. U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates. Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:37 , Joe Middleton

Blast has resulted in ‘unknown’ number of casualties, confirms Pentagon

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:42 , Joe Middleton

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update.”

US personnel among the wounded - reports CNN

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:47 , Joe Middleton

CNN is reporting that officials at the Pentagon have told them that some US personnel have been injured in the explosion.

Anchor Jim Sciutto tweeted: “According to initial reports, there are some US personnel among the wounded in the explosion outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, according to three US officials and a source familiar with the situation.”

No British casualties at attack near Kabul

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:52 , Lamiat Sabin

There were no British casualties after a suspected suicide bomb exploded outside Kabul airport, according to reports.

Boris Johnson to chair COBRA this afternoon

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:54 , Joe Middleton

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been updated on the situation at Kabul airport and will chair an emergency Cobra meeting on Thursday afternoon, Downing Street has said.

Kabul explosion: Up to three US troops injured in attack outside airport, reports say

Thursday 26 August 2021 15:59 , Joe Middleton

As many as three US Marines were injured in a blast believed to have been caused by a suicide bomber outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday.

The blast was confirmed by the Pentagon, which did not initially confirm the number of injuries including those of any Afghans who may have been caught in the blast.

News reports indicated that the explosion set off a gunfight at the airport’s Abbey Gate. A Taliban official told Reuters that the blast killed some of their forces who were providing security outside the airport, putting the number dead at 13 including civilians. Three US officials confirmed to CNN that US personnel were wounded in the attack.

John Bowden has the details.

Biden in Situation Room amid reports up to three US troops injured in Kabul blast

Sir Keir Starmer: Devastating reports coming out of Kabul

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:12 , Joe Middleton

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the Kabul airport attack as “devastating”.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Devastating reports from Kabul. Our thoughts are with all those killed and wounded, serving personnel supporting the evacuations and all those desperately trying to leave.

“The bravery of the troops at the airport will always outweigh the cowardice of those who wish to harm us.”

Explosion was like ‘doomsday,’ says Brit near attack

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:30 , Lamiat Sabin

A former British forces interpreter was with his wife, three-month-old daughter, and three-year-old son at Barons hotel in Kabul waiting for an evacuation flight when the first suspected suicide bombing was detonated.

He said, according to Sky News, that his family is safe but added: “It was like doomsday, injured people everywhere.

“The explosion was near us and it was a bit strong. I saw people running with blood on their faces and bodies.”

EU Council president: ‘Safe passage to airport remains vital’

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:40 , Lamiat Sabin

European Council president Charles Michel stressed that Afghans needing to be evacuated need to have a safe passage to the airport, after the two blasts in the surrounding area to the airfield.

Thousands of people who are desperate to leave Afghanistan are still in Kabul with the evacuation deadline on Tuesday.

Mr Michel said: “Very concerned about news of Kabul explosion and closely monitoring situation.

“My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

“Securing safe passage to the airport remains vital. We need to ensure the current instability cannot give rise to a resurgence of terrorism.”

At least 60 wounded in Kabul blasts

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:45 , Lamiat Sabin

About 60 people wounded in the two suspected suicide bombings have been taken to an emergency hospital in Kabul.

Reporting by Reuters

Up to five US troops injured, says official

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:50 , Lamiat Sabin

A US official has said that as many as five American troops may have been injured in the two blasts in Kabul.

It had been previously reported that up to three US troops were wounded.

Reporting by Reuters

No British troops or officials hurt in bomb blasts

Thursday 26 August 2021 16:55 , Lamiat Sabin

There have been no reported casualities among Britain’s military or government officials in the two suspected suicide bombings in Kabul, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Biden delays meeting with Israeli PM after Kabul blasts

Thursday 26 August 2021 17:05 , Lamiat Sabin

US President Joe Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with Israeli PM Naftali Bennett has been put on hold due to the Kabul explosions.

Mr Biden remains in the Situation Room to monitor developments in Afghanistan, according to Kaitlan Collins – CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent.

In the meeting that has been postponed, newly-elected Mr Bennett was expected to persuade Mr Biden against re-entering a nuclear pact with Iran – the Associated Press news agency reports.

Nato general secretary decries Kabul attacks

Thursday 26 August 2021 17:10 , Lamiat Sabin

Jens Stoltenberg has “strongly condemned” the attacks that have killed up to 13 people and injured about 60 around Kabul airport.

The Nato general secretary said: “I strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack outside Kabul airport.

“My thoughts are with all those affected and their loved ones.

“Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible.”

France in talks with Taliban over evacuations

Thursday 26 August 2021 17:20 , Lamiat Sabin

France is in talks with the Taliban to allow hundreds of Afghans to be evacuated from Afghanistan, French President Emmanuel Macron said today.

He added that he could not guarantee that France would be successful in evacuating people before Tuesday’s deadline because of the worsening security situation and recent attacks around Kabul airport that killed at least 13 people.

On a visit to Ireland, he said: “We are facing an extremely tense situation.”

Mr Macron said France’s ambassador in Afghanistan would not remain in the country for security reasons and would operate from Paris, adding that French special forces were at Kabul airport.

More than 2,500 French nationals and Afghans had reached French soil after being evacuated from Afghanistan, according to France’s foreign ministry.

US officials braced for more attacks in Kabul

Thursday 26 August 2021 17:32 , Lamiat Sabin

US officials are concerned that further attacks could occur at Kabul airport, they said today.

It comes after two suspected suicide bombing blasts took place at the Abbey Gate of the airport and the nearby Baron hotel.

The US believes that Isis affiliate group Isis-K, from the Khorasan Province, is responsible for the attacks and poses an “acute” and “imminent” threat.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Airlines advised to avoid Afghan airspace

Thursday 26 August 2021 17:45 , Lamiat Sabin

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he has issued a Notice to Aviation to advise airlines to avoid Afghan air space under 25,000ft after the explosions near Kabul airport.

He posted on Twitter: “Following the shocking scenes in Afghanistan today, I have issued a NOTAM (Notice to Aviation) further advising airlines to avoid Afghan airspace under 25,000ft. We will continue to keep this under review.”

Taliban says it condemns Kabul attacks by ‘evil’ groups

Thursday 26 August 2021 18:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Taliban spokesmen Zabihullah Mujahid and Suhail Shaheen have said that “the Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing of civilians at Kabul airport”.

They added that “the Islamic Emirate is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circles will be strictly stopped”.

The US believes that Isis affiliate group Isis-K, from the Khorasan Province, is responsible for the attacks.

PM: Evacuations to continue despite ‘barbaric’ attacks

Thursday 26 August 2021 18:10 , Lamiat Sabin

PM Boris Johnson vowed that the UK’s rescue efforts in Afghanistan will continue despite the “barbaric” attacks around Kabul airport.

It comes after Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, after the two suspected suicide bomb attacks, that evacuation operations will continue “until the end of the mission” on Tuesday.

UK evacuation operation continues despite terror attack at Kabul airport, says Boris Johnson

Artists destroy works out of fear of Taliban

Thursday 26 August 2021 18:21 , Lamiat Sabin

Artists in Afghanistan are destroying their works in fear of being targeted by the Taliban.

Art curator Omaid Sharifi, who is based in Kabul, posted photos online of pieces having been burned, ripped, and smashed.

He said: “My heart shatters to see and talk to Afghan artists who have started destroying their own art out of fear.

“Afghanistan is becoming black and white again. It’s losing its beauty, diversity and colors.

“I am afraid the world will let this happen again!”

Patel says Afghans should wait for safe routes to UK

Thursday 26 August 2021 18:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Home Secretary Priti Patel has advised Afghans to wait for safe routes out of Afghanistan rather than flee to the UK via unauthorised means.

She pledged to create safe routes of passage to the UK for people desperate to escape the Taliban’s rise to power.

Ms Patel told reporters that Afghans crossing the Channel with people smugglers is “exactly what we want to avoid”.

Our social affairs correspondent May Bulman reports

Priti Patel urges Afghans not to flee to UK and instead wait for safe routes

‘Number’ of US military personnel killed in Kabul attack

Thursday 26 August 2021 18:40 , Lamiat Sabin

US Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said a “number” of US military personnel were killed in the Kabul airport attack.

In a statement, he said: “We can confirm that a number of US service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds.

“We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.”

Afghan people taken to hospital after blasts – images

Thursday 26 August 2021 19:06 , Lamiat Sabin

Distressing images of people injured in the Kabul attacks have been shared on social media.

The pictures show injured and traumatised people being taken to hospital on stretchers.

Harrowing footage posted on the same Twitter account shows the carnage left by the suspected suicide bombers.

Piles of bodies are seen lying in pools of water around Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate, where one of the two attacks took place.

Other injured Afghans are seen trying to move themselves out of the ruin, while uninjured people attempt to pull and lift some people out.

Another video shows people, including children, lying on hospital beds in extreme pain and distress while medics attend to them.

Four US Marines killed and three wounded – report

Thursday 26 August 2021 19:20 , Lamiat Sabin

US sources told Reuters that four US Marines were killed and three were wounded in an explosion at Kabul airport today.

Other US sources gave the same figures, the news agency said.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby had confirmed that there was a “number” of US fatalities but did not give details.

At least 60 killed and 140 injured in blasts – BBC

Thursday 26 August 2021 19:31 , Lamiat Sabin

A senior health official has told the BBC that at least 60 people were killed and 140 others wounded in the explosions at Kabul airport today.

Earlier reports had stated that there were up to 13 deaths – according to the Taliban. Reuters news agency has reported that there were about 60 people injured.

11 US Marines and Navy medic dead – report

Thursday 26 August 2021 19:46 , Lamiat Sabin

Eleven US marines and a Navy medic were killed in the Kabul airport attack, US officials said.

The officials said that they are expecting the numbers of fatalities and injured people to rise.

Reporting by Reuters

Attacks confirmed as suicide bombings by US

Thursday 26 August 2021 20:10 , Lamiat Sabin

US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, has said that the attacks around Kabul airport were suicide bombings.

He also confirmed that at least 12 US service members – 11 Marines and one Navy medic – died in the blasts in which about 60 civilians had also been killed in.

US will ‘go after’ groups behind Kabul suicide bombings

Thursday 26 August 2021 20:13 , Lamiat Sabin

The US will “go after” those responsible for attacks around Kabul airport, US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said today.

It comes after at least two suicide bombings took place around the airport while thousands of people are attempting to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover.

At a Pentagon press briefing, he said that US officials “expect those attacks to continue” as “typically the pattern is multiple attacks”.

General McKenzie said two terrorists wearing suicide vests were responsible for the two blasts, and that the US is working to find those behind the “cowardly” attacks.

He added: “We will go after them ... 24/7 we will look for them.”

Threat of attack using vehicle ‘high’ in Kabul

Thursday 26 August 2021 20:22 , Lamiat Sabin

The possibility of a terror attack using a vehicle “is high right now,” said US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie.

The commander of US Central Command made this warning during a Pentagon press briefing being held.

Isis claims responsibility for attacks

Thursday 26 August 2021 20:25 , Lamiat Sabin

The so-called Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for the attacks around Kabul airport, according to the group’s Telegram account.

It come after the US said it believed that Isis affiliate group Isis-K, from the Khorasan Province, was behind the suicide bombings.

Tom Batchelor reports

Isis claims responsibility for Kabul airport attack that killed at least 22

UK foreign secretary: US troops ‘paid ultimate sacrifice’

Thursday 26 August 2021 20:48 , Lamiat Sabin

Dominic Raab has offered condolences to the US over the deaths of 11 Marines and one Navy medic.

The UK Foreign Secretary said in a statement: “They paid the ultimate sacrifice while helping others reach safety.”

“I also want to extend my condolences to the families of all those Afghans killed or injured,” he said.

Mr Raab added: “It is tragic that as they sought safety they have suffered at the hands of terrorists”.

He said the bombing was a “stark reminder” of the dangerous situation that the UK military is facing on the ground while working to evacuate people ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

‘Third’ blast heard in Kabul – eyewitnesses

Thursday 26 August 2021 21:02 , Lamiat Sabin

A large blast has been heard in Kabul about two-and-a-half miles (4km) away from the airport, according to Reuters citing two eyewitnesses who live in the area.

The report comes after two suicide bombings killed scores of people around Hamid Karzai International Airport today.

The so-called Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Third blast was US military destroying ammunition – Taliban

Thursday 26 August 2021 21:12 , Lamiat Sabin

A third blast heard in Kabul was a controlled explosion by the US military, according to a Taliban spokesman.

The noise was made by ammunition being destroyed by the service members, he said.

Reporting by Reuters

Scale of Taliban arsenal and biodata of Afghans ‘unbelievable’

Thursday 26 August 2021 21:24 , Lamiat Sabin

Tory MP and former British Army officer Johnny Mercer said it is “unbelievable” that the Taliban holds biodata of Afghan people who have helped Western forces.

He was commenting on a clip of Republican representative Jim Banks, in which he says that the Taliban has more than £60bn ($85bn) worth of American military equipment.

Mr Banks said that includes 75,000 vehicles, over 200 airplanes and helicopters, and over 600,000 small arms and light weapons.

The Taliban now has more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world, he added.

Mr Banks continues: “ And night vision goggles, body armour, medical supplies, and unbelievably, unfathomable to me and so many others, is that the Taliban now has biometric devices which have the fingerprints, eye scans and biographical information of the Afghans who helped us over the last 20 years.”

“This administration still has no plan to get this military equipment or supplies back,” he also said.

Mr Mercer said: “This will stop you in your tracks. Unbelievable.

“We gave them the names of those we trained to fight them. And some we will leave behind to the violence we see at the airport. An appalling day, verging from rage to tears.”

Sign up to our free event on the crisis in Afghanistan

Thursday 26 August 2021 21:50 , Lamiat Sabin

Join the Independent’s free exclusive virtual event ‘Afghanistan: A nation abandoned?’

Our expert panel, including our defence editor Kim Sengupta, who is currently based in Kabul, will be discussing the situation in Afghanistan and what the future holds for the country.

The event will be held on Zoom from 6.30-7.30pm on Wednesday 1 September.

Sign up here for free.

Biden vows to avenge suicide bombing deaths

Thursday 26 August 2021 22:47 , Lamiat Sabin

US President Joe Biden promised to avenge the deaths of 12 US troops killed in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul today.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the two deadly attacks in the area of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Mr Biden said: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Eric Garcia reports

Biden vows to avenge 12 Americans killed in Kabul: ‘We will hunt you down’

Charity calls for more action to help Afghan children

Thursday 26 August 2021 22:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Western governments have been urged to do more to help thousands of children who have been injured and displaced as a result of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

Save the Children said that as many as 80,000 youngsters have been displaced and are at severe risk of missing out on humanitarian aid.

The charity is concerned that there is no process in place to ensure that basic necessities such as food, water, and medicines will be able to bypass the Taliban and reach those who need help.

It comes ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for evacuations of people who are desperate to leave Afghanistan to be complete.

Orlaith Minogue, senior conflict and humanitarian advocacy adviser at Save the Children, said: “The evacuation of those who wish to flee is urgent – there's a huge amount to be done in this initial phase – but it’s just the reality that we also need to be moving very swiftly to think about what comes next inside Afghanistan.”

Hassan Noor, Regional Director of Save the Children in Asia, said that the loss of children in suicide bomb attacks in Kabul is “devastating”.

He added: “No child should ever lose their lives to war, all efforts must be made to ensure that they do not ever become collateral damage. We are appalled by this act of senseless violence.

“We call on all parties to stop the violence and protect civilians, especially children, and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Car of former Royal Marine targeted amid Isis attack

Thursday 26 August 2021 22:26 , Lamiat Sabin

A former Royal Marine who was near to the explosion close to Kabul airport has said his vehicle was targeted by a gunman.

A number of people are feared to have been killed in at least two explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, which Isis has claimed responsibility for.

Paul Farthing, known as Pen – who founded the Nowzad shelter in Kabul – is aiming to get 200 dogs and cats out of the country alongside his animal shelter staff and a number of children.

Mr Farthing, who was outside the airport in a car when the incident occurred, told the PA news agency: “All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47.

“We’ve been in the airport, and back out of the airport; the whole thing’s a mess. There’s not much more I can say at the moment, I need to make sure the animals and everyone is safe.”

Since the Taliban’s takeover, Mr Farthing and his supporters have campaigned to have his staff and their families, around 68 people, as well as 140 dogs and 60 cats evacuated from the country in a plan he has dubbed Operation Ark.

Mr Farthing said he was told by the UK Government that if he could get into Kabul airport he and his team would be guaranteed passage out of Afghanistan.

However, after arriving they were denied access and were forced to turn back after the attacks took place.

Evacuated Chevening scholar fears for family after Isis attacks

Thursday 26 August 2021 22:40 , Lamiat Sabin

A Chevening scholar said his fears for his family in Afghanistan have heightened after today’s suicide bombings around Kabul airport.

Sharif Safi, 26, is in quarantine in France awaiting a chance to travel to Britain after he managed to flee Afghanistan.

He is one of 35 Chevening scholars awarded a government-backed chance to study for a master’s degree at a UK university.

Just three days ago he was at Abbey Gate, outside of Kabul airport, the site of one of the two deadly bombings.

Mr Safi said: “I can’t find any words to express the sorrow and the level of pain. I can’t find the words to express how hopeless I feel.”

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said he had been appealing for his family to be able to join him in the UK.

However, he had been informed that the definition of the immediate family that could be evacuated with him applied to a spouse or children while he is particularly concerned about his parents.

He said: “For the past 10 or 11 days after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, they haven’t been able to step out of their home. So that’s very difficult, that’s so distressing, and I can feel it from their voice whenever I talk to them now. This is terrible.”

Mr Safi said he was determined to do “everything” he can to help his family.

Biden vows to avenge deaths of US service members

Thursday 26 August 2021 22:52 , Lamiat Sabin

US President Joe Biden vowed to avenge the 12 American service members killed in an attack in Kabul today.

At least 12 US troops – 11 Marines and one Navy medic – died in the attack that Isis has claimed responsibility for.

In the two suicide bombings around Hamid Karzai International Airport, scores of civilians also died and were injured.

Mr Biden said: “To those who carried out this attack as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Eric Garcia reports

Biden vows to avenge 12 Americans killed in Kabul: ‘We will hunt you down’

Biden: ‘Our mission will go on’

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:03 , Lamiat Sabin

US President Joe Biden said today’s suicide bombing attacks shows why he wanted to limit the duration of the “extraordinary and dangerous” evacuation mission in Afghanistan.

At a press conference, he added that the “mission will go on” to get Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.

Mr Biden held a moment of silence for those who died in the attacks. It has been estimated that around 60 civilians died, as well as 12 US service members. More than 140 have thought to be injured, according to the BBC.

Death toll exceeds 100 – report

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:15 , Lamiat Sabin

Ninety Afghans and 12 US service members have been killed in attacks carried out in Kabul, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper also reported that the number of injured people has exceeded 150.

The attack on US personnel marked the deadliest day for the country’s military in Afghanistan since 2011.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings in a report posted by its Amaq news agency.

RT photoshops image to show Afghan family with weapons

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia Today (RT) photoshopping an image of an Afghan family to make them look like they are carrying weapons has been slammed as “appalling’”.

The Russian state-owned media outlet manipulated an image of what appears to be a father, mother and their daughter for a news story titled ‘Up to 100 Afghan evacuees on intelligence agency watchlists – US official’.

Small text aligned to the side of the picture says: “Note: photoshopped image”.

RT has since deleted the image from Twitter.

Miqdaad Versi, spokesman for Muslim Council of Britain, was one of the many people who criticised RT over the image.

He said: “Photoshopping weapons onto an innocent Afghan family is truly appalling.

“Russia Today have since deleted their tweet without acknowledgement or apology.”

Jen Psaki: ‘Not possible to evacuate every Afghan’

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:40 , Lamiat Sabin

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it will not be possible to evacuate every Afghan who wants to get out of Afghanistan before the US military withdraws on Tuesday.

But she said there is no end date on any commitment to evacuate US citizens from Afghanistan, even after the military withdraws.

Her comments came after US President Joe Biden took questions from journalists at the press conference, during which he also said that he will not be able to get all Afghans who want to leave the country to the US.

Mr Biden added: “I know of no conflict – as a student of history – no conflict where, when a war is ended, one side was able to guarantee that everyone they wanted to be extracted in that country would get out.”

Another US service member dies after Kabul attack – report

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:45 , Lamiat Sabin

One more US service member has died after the attacks in Kabul, a US official has told Reuters news agency.

There has yet to be independent corroboration of this report but, if verified, it could increase the US military death toll in today’s attacks to 13.

Earlier, it was confirmed that 12 personnel – 11 Marines and one Navy medic – had died in the suicide bombing attacks around Kabul airport that Isis have claimed responsibility for.

Tory MP: ‘Kabul airport bombing ‘is what defeat looks like’

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:52 , Lamiat Sabin

The Kabul airport bombing which claimed scores of lives among Afghan civilians and US military personnel is “what defeat looks like“, according to Tory MP Tom Tugendhat.

He criticised Western forces for their chaotic Afghan withdrawal, saying that “we don’t have any control” and “don’t have any say” over the future of Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Tom Batchelor reports

Kabul airport bombing ‘is what defeat looks like’, says Tory MP

US flags flown half mast for those killed in Kabul attacks

Thursday 26 August 2021 23:59 , Lamiat Sabin

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the US Capitol in Washington to be flown half mast “in honour of the US service members and others” killed in the suicide bombing attacks.

She said: “Congress & the Country pray for the innocent lives lost, those injured & the families of all affected.”

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