Kabul bomb blast: More than 60 Afghans, 12 US troops killed in Kabul airport attack; IS claims responsibility

Kabul Airport Bomb Blast: Shortly after the attack, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel. Reportedly, the attacks have killed more than 60 Afghans and 12 US troops who were at the Kabul airport. 

Created On: Aug 27, 2021 11:44 IST
Kabul airport bomb blast
Kabul airport bomb blast

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the crowd of Afghans who were flocking to Kabul’s airport on August 26, 2021. The attack transformed a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of airlift for those who were trying to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

As per the Afghan and US officials, the Kabul bomb blast has killed more than 60 Afghans and 12 US troops.

The United States general overseeing the evacuation from Afghanistan vowed that the United States will go after the perpetrators of the bombings and also warned that more such attacks are expected.

The head of the US Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie said, “We are working very hard right now to determine attribution, to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack. And we are prepared to take action against the.”

Islamic State group claims responsibility, US determined to evacuate Americans

Shortly after General McKenzie spoke, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel.

However, Gen. McKenzie said that the Kabul bomb blast will not stop the United States from evacuating the Americans and others out of Afghanistan and that the flights out were continuing.

McKenzie informed that there was a large amount of security at Kabul airport and that the alternate routes were being used to get the evacuees in. In addition to the many Afghans, the US State Department estimated that there were as many as 1,000 Americans in war-torn Afghanistan who may want help getting out.

Kabul Airport Bomb Blast

The US officials have informed that 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who have been killed in Kabul Bomb Blast. Gen. McKenzie said that another 15 service members were wounded.

Officials have further warned that the death toll could grow and more than 140 Afghans have been wounded.

One of the bombers had struck people knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier were hoping to get out on flights were seen carrying the wounded to ambulances in a daze.

An Italian Charity, Emergency, that operates hospitals in Afghanistan informed that it had received at least 60 patients wounded in the Kabul Airport attack, in addition to the 10 who were dead when they arrived.

The Afghan official who has confirmed of 60 Afghans being killed in an attack had spoken on the condition of anonymity.

Kabul Bomb Blast: Where the attacks happened?

John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson informed that one explosion was near the entrance of Kabul airport and another was a short distance away by a hotel.

Gen. McKenzie of the US said that clearly some of the failures at the airport allowed the suicide bomber to get close to the airport gate.

He further said that the Taliban has been screening people outside the gates, though there has been no indication that Taliban has deliberately allowed the Kabul bomb blast to happen. The US has now asked the Taliban commanders to tighten security around the airport’s perimeter.

The second blast was at or near the Baron Hotel, where many people, including Britons, Afghans, and Americans were told to gather in the recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation.

Warnings emerged from Western capitals about a threat from IS:

Before the deadly Kabul airport blast, warnings from the Western Capitals were already coming regarding a threat from the IS, which has seen its rank boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during its advance through Afghanistan.

The acting US ambassador, shortly before the attack, said that the security threat at the Kabul Airport overnight was clearly regarded as credible, as imminent as compelling.

The U.S. Embassy had also warned the citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately because of an unspecified security threat. Britain, Australia, and New Zealand had also advised their citizens not to go to the airport.

Before the Kabul airport blast, Taliban had sprayed water cannon at those who were gathered at one airport gate to try to drive the crowd away, as someone had launched the tear gas canister everywhere.

ISIS-K in Afghanistan behind Kabul Airport attack: Who are they?

The Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the terrorist group’s affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently has taken control of Afghanistan in a lightning blitz and has condemned the attack.

The group which was created six years ago are the Sunni extremists of IS, with links to the group’s more well-known affiliate in Syria and Iraq, have set out series of brutal attacks, targeting mainly the Afghanistan’s Shiite Muslim minority, including a 2020 assault on a maternity hospital in Kabul in which they killed women and infants.

The Taliban militants have fought against the Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, where Taliban took back control nearly 20 years after they were ousted in a US-led invasion. The US went in following the 9/11 attacks which Al-Qaeda had orchestrated while being sheltered by the group.

Countries condemn Kabul Bomb blast:

The Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson condemned the terrorist attack on Kabul. He informed that the majority of those eligible have been evacuated from Afghanistan and that the teams are trying to get people as fast as they can in the remaining hours.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the terrorist attack on Kabul and said that the latest incident underscores the volatility of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.

India in a statement condemned the bomb blasts at the Kabul airport and extended heartfelt condolences to the families of victims of these terrorist attacks.

Countries to continue engagement with Afghanistan:

Some countries have already ended their evacuation and have begun to withdraw their diplomats and soldiers, signaling the beginning of the end of one of the largest airlifts in history.

The Taliban in Afghanistan had insisted that the foreign troops must be out by the US’s self-imposed deadline of August 31.

However, some countries, even though have ended the evacuation have said that they will continue the engagement with war-torn Afghanistan even after August 31.

Chancellor Angela Markel from Germany said that the country will try to help Afghans who worked with its soldiers and aid organisations and wish to leave Afghanistan even after August 31.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said that the country will continue its engagement in Afghanistan even as the Canadian forces in Kabul have ended evacuation efforts ahead of August 31.

Background:

Afghanistan has been facing a severe political crisis after Taliban took over the charge of the country. The events unfolded when the US decided to withdraw its troops from the country after 20 years, bring the militant regime of Taliban back to power.

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