At least 12 U.S. service members are dead after multiple explosions went off in Kabul, Afghanistan, near the city’s airport.
“At least 10 US Service members killed, dozens of Americans wounded in suicide bomb attack at Abbey Gate in Kabul this morning. Death toll of US service members likely to rise: US officials,” Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin tweeted.
At least 10 US Service members killed, dozens of Americans wounded in suicide bomb attack at Abbey Gate in Kabul this morning. Death toll of US service members likely to rise: US officials.
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) August 26, 2021
Two explosions rocked Kabul on Thursday, killing dozens and causing numerous injuries as crowds of Afghans and others flocked to the Hamid Karzai International Airport. An earlier report from The Wall Street Journal said that four U.S. Marines were killed in the bombings and multiple more injured.
The bombings took place just outside of the airport on Thursday as throngs of people flocked to the airport seeking evacuation from the largely Taliban-controlled country. One reported ISIS suicide bomber hit one of the airport’s main gates, the Abbey Gate. Another explosion struck just outside of Kabul’s Baron Hotel, which has been a gathering place for Americans waiting to be evacuated from the country.
The total number of injuries remains unclear, though early reports indicate over a dozen dead and dozens injured. The attacks took place hours after multiple NATO countries suspended evacuation operations citing the possibility of a terror attack. Thousands of people seeking extraction have crowded outside the perimeter of the airport in recent weeks. Taliban checkpoints have blocked most from getting through.
Hundreds of ISIS-K fighters reportedly remain in and around Kabul, stoking fears that more attacks are coming. Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich reported Thursday morning that a source briefed on the situation in Kabul claimed that “hundreds of ISIS-K” fighters are in the airport’s “vicinity,” warning that “attacks likely to continue.”
The reports of ISIS-K militants have set off security alerts among U.S. officials. On Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan sent out an alert to Americans still in the country, warning them to stay away from the airport.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the alert said.
The attacks come as U.S. forces in Afghanistan prepare to leave the country in a matter of days. President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that he was sticking to his self-imposed deadline of August 31 to withdraw from Afghanistan. Biden’s decision rebuffed U.S. allies and lawmakers who pushed the president to extend the deadline until evacuations could be completed.
Lawmakers are still pressing Biden to extend the deadline. In the wake of the attacks, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement saying the U.S. withdrawal should be delayed until evacuations are complete.
“From this week’s bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives,” the statement said.