At least ten US service members are among the dead following Thursday’s deadly blasts outside of the Kabul international airport in Afghanistan, according to Fox News‘ Edward Lawrence.
— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) August 26, 2021
According to ABC News’ James Gordon Meek, there is a new threat of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) at the North Gate of the Kabul airport.
*** URGENT *** — New threat of VBIED at North Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul, US official inside the airport complex tells @ABC following complex IED attack at Abbey gate earlier today.
— James Gordon Meek (@meekwire) August 26, 2021
Four Americans, all U.S. Marines, were killed in Kabul Thursday after two bombings rocked the city near Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday: “The U.S. ambassador in Kabul has told staff there that four U.S. Marines were killed in an explosion at the city’s airport and three wounded, a U.S. official with knowledge of the briefing said.”
Two terror bombings rocked areas 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.
According to a source speaking to Fox News, hundreds of ISIS-K fighters are in the “vicinity” of the airport and attacks are expected to continue. For days, ISIS fighters have been reported in the area triggering security alerts from NATO nations. As The Daily Wire reports:
Islamic State-affiliated terrorists have been reported to be in the area, setting 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.
Earlier this week, Biden rebuffed calls from U.S. allies and declined to extend an August 31 deadline to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Numerous U.S. and international lawmakers had pushed Biden to reconsider his self-imposed deadline, citing the need to evacuate hundreds more Americans and potentially hundreds of thousands more Afghan visa holders.
“The sooner we can finish, the better,” Biden said during an address as the White House. “Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that [Islamic State-affiliated] ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport, attack both U.S. and allied forces and innocent civilians.”
“Thus far, the Taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out,” he said. “But it’s a tenuous situation. We’ve already had some gunfighting break out. We run a serious risk of it breaking down, as time goes on.”
The State Department reported Wednesday that roughly 1,500 Americans are believed to be in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the department was in contact with about 500 of those and working on evacuating them. Many times more Afghans who worked with the U.S. military are believed to be in Afghanistan with little hope of evacuating before the August 31 deadline. Estimates indicate at least 150,000 Afghans and their families eligible for visas out of the country remain in Afghanistan.