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Attack on Kabul airport kills US marines, injures dozen

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Attack on Kabul airport kills US marines, injures dozen

A victim is treated after the attacks.
Photo: Deputy Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Two large explosions ripped through the crowd outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, killing 11 U.S. Marines, a Navy medic and dozens of Afghans, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Fifteen other soldiers were injured and the Wall Street Journal reports that at least 60 Afghans are dead. Officials said at least one of the explosions appeared to be the work of a suicide bomber. In a speech on Thursday, Biden stated that ISIS-K – the Afghan branch of Islamic State – was responsible for the attack. The group has also taken responsibility.

One of the explosions occurred at Abbey Gate, a main entrance to the airport, and the other at the nearby Baron Hotel. Loud shots were said to have been heard after the attack. At least 60 people were transferred to a nearby hospital.

Although no one took responsibility for the explosions, US intelligence agencies had warned in the past few days of impending violence by ISIS, a sworn enemy of the Taliban. CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie Jr. said Thursday the attacks were believed to have been orchestrated by ISIS.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said: “We strongly condemn this gruesome incident and will take every step to bring the guilty to justice.”

“I saw a little girl and looked at her and picked her up,” an Afghan interpreter who witnessed the explosion told CBS News. “I took her to the hospital, but she died on my hands. What is happening right now is heartbreaking. This whole country is falling apart. “

With thousands of Afghans gathering at the airport to flee the country since the Taliban came to power earlier this month, the US and UK recently warned that an attack could be imminent, while Belgium suspected it was a suicide bomber would act.

The U.S. military deaths are the first in the country since early 2020, when President Trump negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban. Twelve dead in action are also the deadliest day of the US occupation since 2011. Around 1,500 Americans are still in Afghanistan, said Foreign Minister Antony Blinken on Wednesday – days before Biden’s deadline for the withdrawal of all US forces from the country. The US has now evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 95,700 people since August 14.

In response to the Thursday afternoon attack, President Biden said he had directed the Pentagon to “develop operational plans to attack ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities.” He added that the US “will not be deterred by terrorists” and “will continue the evacuation”.

This post has been updated.

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