27 Aug 2021: Kabul airport blast: IS kills 60 Afghans, 13 US troops
The fatal explosion at the Kabul airport on Thursday managed to kill at least 60 Afghans and 13 United States troops. The Islamic State-Khorasan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Notably, crowds have been gathering at the Kabul airport in a bid to flee the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan since the group overthrew the country's government on August 15. Here are more details.
Details: Eyewitnesses recall seeing body parts flying
Reportedly, Kabul health officials said that at least 60 civilians were killed in the blast. US officials said that the death toll of American troops rose to 13 from 12 on Thursday. Although there are no official figures on the number of those injured, eyewitnesses recounted horrific scenes of body parts flying and a sewage canal nearby turning red with blood.
Quote: 'Thought my eardrums were blasted'
One Afghan witness told Reuters, "For a moment I thought my eardrums were blasted and I lost my sense of hearing. I saw bodies and body parts flying in the air like a tornado blowing plastic bags. I saw bodies, body parts, elders, and injured men, women, and children scattered." "That little water flowing in the sewage canal had turned into blood," he said.
Blast: Targeted translators, collaborators with US Army: Islamic State
The twin blasts occurred near the Abbey Gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, US officials confirmed. A third explosion was reported by Agence France-Presse, while unconfirmed reports said there may have been other blasts. IS said its suicide bombers targeted "translators and collaborators with the American army." The group has seen its numbers grow since the Taliban freed prisoners across Afghanistan.
US: Biden vows to 'hunt down' perpetrators
US President Joe Biden vowed action against the perpetrators. He ordered the Pentagon to strike the Islamic State-Khorasan. "We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said. The US casualties in Thursday's bombing make it the deadliest such attack in a decade and the first fatalities of American troops in Afghanistan since February 2020.
Evacuation: Kabul airport being used to evacuate foreign nationals, Afghans
Since the Taliban's takeover on August 15, Western countries have evacuated nearly 1,00,000 people, including their nationals and Afghans. The US is managing the Kabul airport as part of its withdrawal of troops, which is set to be complete by August 31. Countries are rushing to evacuate as many as possible by the August deadline. However, several Afghans are likely to be left behind.
Warnings: US warns of more attacks, including rockets, car bombs
Days, even hours, before the attack, Western countries had issued coordinated warnings of an imminent suicide bomb threat near the Kabul airport. Nations had warned their citizens to avoid the airport and look for other ways to flee Afghanistan. After Thursday's bombing, US Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie warned that more attacks are likely, including rockets being fired at the airport or car bombs.
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Also see: Explosion outside Kabul airport; 13 killed, including children, says Taliban
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