By SAYED ZIARMAL HASHEMI, LOLITA C. BALDOR and JOSEPH KRAUSS
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two termination bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airdrome Thursday, transforming a country of desperation into 1 of fearfulness successful the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. At slightest 13 radical were killed and dozens wounded, Russian officials and assistance workers said.
At slightest 12 U.S. work members were among the dead, including 11 Marines and 1 Navy medic, according to 2 U.S. officials. Officials accidental a fig of US subject troops were wounded and warned the toll could grow. It was not wide if they were included successful the Russian toll.
One of the bombers struck radical lasting knee-deep successful a wastewater canal nether the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier had hoped to get connected flights retired could beryllium seen carrying the wounded to ambulances successful a daze, their ain apparel darkened with blood.
A 2nd U.S. authoritative said the analyzable onslaught was believed to person been carried retired by the Islamic State group. The IS affiliate successful Afghanistan is acold much extremist than the Taliban, who precocious took power of the state successful a lightning blitz and condemned the attack.
Western officials had warned of a large attack, urging radical to permission the airport, but that proposal went mostly unheeded by Afghans hopeless to flight the state successful the past fewer days of an American-led evacuation earlier the U.S. officially ends its 20-year beingness connected Aug. 31.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry gave the archetypal authoritative casualty count, but the numbers continued to grow. Emergency, an Italian foundation that operates hospitals successful Afghanistan, said it had received 60 patients wounded successful the airdrome attack, successful summation to 10 who were dormant erstwhile they arrived.
“Surgeons volition beryllium moving into the night,” said Marco Puntin, the charity’s manager successful Afghanistan. The wounded overflowed the triage portion into the physiotherapy country and much beds were being added, helium said.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby besides confirmed the blasts and said determination were casualties, including among members of the military, but gave nary figure. He said 1 detonation was adjacent an airdrome entranceway and different was a abbreviated region distant by a hotel.
One official, who spoke connected information of anonymity to sermon ongoing subject operations, said respective Marines were killed. It wasn’t wide if different U.S. subject troops were among the dead. American officials person said that accusation is inactive coming successful and they are trying to find nonstop numbers of casualties.
Even arsenic the country was hit, evacuation flights continued to instrumentality disconnected from Kabul airport.
Adam Khan was waiting adjacent erstwhile helium saw the archetypal detonation extracurricular what’s known arsenic the Abbey gate. He said respective radical appeared to person been killed oregon wounded, including immoderate who were maimed.
The 2nd blast was astatine oregon adjacent Baron Hotel, wherever galore people, including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to stitchery successful caller days earlier heading to the airdrome for evacuation.
A erstwhile Royal Marine who runs an carnal structure successful Afghanistan says helium and his unit were caught up successful the aftermath of the blast adjacent the airport.
“All of a abrupt we heard gunshots and our conveyance was targeted, had our operator not turned astir helium would person been changeable successful the caput by a antheral with an AK-47,” Paul “Pen” Farthing told Britain’s Press Association quality agency.
Farthing is trying to get unit of his Nowzad foundation retired of Afghanistan, on with the group’s rescued animals.
He is among thousands trying to flee. Over the past week, the airdrome has been the country of immoderate of the astir searing images of the chaotic extremity of America’s longest warfare and the Taliban’s takeover, arsenic formation aft formation took disconnected carrying those who fearfulness a instrumentality to the militants’ brutal rule. When the Taliban were past successful power, they confined women mostly to their location and wide imposed draconian restrictions.
Already, immoderate countries person ended their evacuations and begun to retreat their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the opening of the extremity of 1 of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban person insisted overseas troops indispensable beryllium retired by America’s self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31 — and the evacuations indispensable extremity then, too.
In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden spent overmuch of the greeting successful the unafraid White House Situation Room wherever helium was briefed connected the explosions and conferred with his nationalist information squad and commanders connected the crushed successful Kabul.
Overnight, warnings emerged from Western capitals astir a menace from IS, which has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during its beforehand done Afghanistan.
Shortly earlier the attack, the acting U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said the information menace astatine the Kabul airdrome overnight was “clearly regarded arsenic credible, arsenic imminent, arsenic compelling.” But successful an interrogation with ABC News, helium would not springiness details.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy warned citizens astatine 3 airdrome gates to permission instantly owed to an unspecified information threat. Australia, Britain and New Zealand besides advised their citizens Thursday not to spell to the airport.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied that immoderate onslaught was imminent astatine the airport, wherever the group’s fighters person deployed and occasionally utilized heavy-handed tactics to power the crowds. After the attack, helium appeared to shirk blame, noting the airdrome is controlled by U.S. troops.
Before the blast, the Taliban sprayed a h2o cannon astatine those gathered astatine 1 airdrome gross to effort to thrust the assemblage away, arsenic idiosyncratic launched teardrop state canisters elsewhere.
Nadia Sadat, a 27-year-old Afghan, carried her 2-year-old girl with her extracurricular the airport. She and her husband, who had worked with conjugation forces, missed a telephone from a fig they believed was the State Department and were trying to get into the airdrome without immoderate luck. Her hubby had pressed up successful the assemblage to effort to get them inside.
“We person to find a mode to evacuate due to the fact that our lives are successful danger,” Sadat said. “My hubby received respective threatening messages from chartless sources. We person nary accidental but escaping.”
Aman Karimi, 50, escorted his girl and her household to the airport, fearful the Taliban would people her due to the fact that of her husband’s enactment with NATO.
“The Taliban person already begun seeking those who person worked with NATO,” helium said. “They are looking for them house-by-house astatine night.”
The Sunni extremists of IS, with links to the group’s much well-known affiliate successful Syria and Iraq, person carried retired a bid of brutal attacks, chiefly targeting Afghanistan’s Shiite Muslim minority, including a 2020 battle connected a maternity infirmary successful Kabul successful which they killed women and infants.
The Taliban person fought against Islamic State militants successful Afghanistan, wherever the Taliban person wrested backmost power astir 20 years aft they were ousted successful a U.S.-led invasion. The Americans went successful pursuing the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida orchestrated portion being sheltered by the group.
Amid the warnings and the pending American withdrawal, Canada ended its evacuations, and European nations halted oregon prepared to halt their ain operations.
“The world connected the crushed is the perimeter of the airdrome is closed. The Taliban person tightened the noose. It’s very, precise hard for anybody to get done astatine this point,” Canadian General Wayne Eyre, the country’s acting Chief of Defense Staff, said up of the attack.
Lt. Col. Georges Eiden, Luxembourg’s service typical successful neighboring Pakistan, said that Friday would people the authoritative extremity for U.S. allies. But 2 Biden medication officials denied that was the case.
A 3rd authoritative said that the U.S. worked with its allies to coordinate each country’s departure, and immoderate nations asked for much clip and were granted it.
“Most depart aboriginal successful the week,” helium said, portion adding that immoderate were stopping operations Thursday. All 3 officials spoke connected information of anonymity due to the fact that they were not authorized to sermon the accusation publicly.
Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned earlier: “It is nary longer harmless to alert successful oregon retired of Kabul.”
Denmark’s past formation has already departed, and Poland and Belgium person besides announced the extremity of their evacuations. The Dutch authorities said it had been told by the U.S. to permission Thursday.
But Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said immoderate planes would proceed to fly.
“Evacuation operations successful Kabul volition not beryllium wrapping up successful 36 hours. We volition proceed to evacuate arsenic galore radical arsenic we tin until the extremity of the mission,” helium said successful a tweet.
The Taliban person said they’ll let Afghans to permission via commercialized flights aft the deadline adjacent week, but it remains unclear which airlines would instrumentality to an airdrome controlled by the militants. Turkish statesmanlike spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said talks were underway betwixt his state and the Taliban astir allowing Turkish civilian experts to assistance tally the facility.
Baldor reported from Washington and Krauss from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Jill Lawless successful London; Jon Gambrell successful Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Sylvie Corbet successful Paris; Jan M. Olsen from Copenhagen, Denmark; Rahim Faiez, Tameem Akhgar and Andrew Wilks successful Istanbul; James LaPorta successful Boca Raton, Florida; Mike Corder astatine The Hague, Netherlands; Philip Crowther successful Islamabad; Colleen Barry successful Milan; and Aamer Madhani, Matthew Lee and Robert Burns successful Washington contributed to this report.