Update: according to US officials, the number of US service members killed in the attack has risen to 13. Earlier, the Pentagon said 12 service members, mostly Marines, were killed and 15 others were wounded. As expected, ISIS-KP claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.
The US ambassador in Kabul Ross Wilson had told staff there that four US Marines were killed in the attack that targeted Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Taliban-held Afghan capital, Kabul, the Wall Street Journal reported on August 26.
According to the New York-based newspaper, three other marines were also wounded in the attack that was described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby as being “complex”.
From its side, the Department of Defense confirmed that a number of US service members were killed in the attack, without providing any numbers of details.
The attack, which targeted crowds of Afghans and US troops just outside the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport, was reportedly carried out by two suicide bombers and several gunmen.
The Associated Press said that 40 people were killed and more than 120 others were wounded in the attack. Footage from the scene suggests that the death toll may be even higher.
Warning (Graphic Content): Casualties are piling up in the aftermath of the #KabulAirport explosion. At least 13 have been killed, and multiple reports indicate that US troops & citizens are among the casualties.pic.twitter.com/8r7qi5I8L5
— SUMBAL_SUMBLY INEXILE 1990 (@sumbly1959) August 26, 2021
The Biden Administration’s legacy of shame – Abbey Gate at Kabul airport. I am in touch with families on the ground – we’ve been working all day long to get out. Plane was denied clearance to land, US soldiers were bulldozing checkpoints & pulling out BEFORE this happened. pic.twitter.com/zjhxmalWR7
— Lara Logan (@laralogan) August 26, 2021
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, as for now. ISIS-Khorasan Province (ISIS-KP), whose cells are known to be present and active in Kabul, remains the main suspect.
From its side, the Taliban, the de-facto ruler of Afghanistan, condemned the attack on the airport, saying it occurred in an area controlled by US forces.
The deadly attack was not a surprise. Just a few hours earlier, the US urged crowds trying to access Hamid Karzai International Airport to leave the area while the British and Australian governments warned of a “high threat” of a “terrorist” attack. It remains unclear why no measures were taken to address this threat.
The situation around Hamid Karzai International Airport, where more than 5,000 US troops are currently present, remains chaotic. Hundreds of American citizens and Afghan collaborators are still waiting to be evacuated.
The situation will not likely improve in the upcoming few days. In fact, more attacks should be expected. ISIS-KP cells are reportedly looming around the airport. The Biden administration has been receiving much criticism for its poor management of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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- Two Explosions Targeted Crowds Near Kabul Airport Gate, US Casualties Reported (Videos, Photos)