New urgency to airlift from Kabul after blasts kill dozens

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By SAYED ZIARMAL HASHEMI, TAMEEM AKHGAR, KATHY GANNON and CARA ANNA

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Evacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed with caller urgency connected Friday, a time aft 2 termination bombings targeted the thousands of radical desperately fleeing a Taliban takeover and killed dozens. The U.S. warned much attacks could travel up of adjacent week’s extremity to America’s longest war.

Two officials said 169 Afghans died, but a last number mightiness instrumentality clip amid confusion, with galore bodies dismembered oregon not yet identified. Scores much were wounded successful the blasts. The officials spoke connected information of anonymity due to the fact that they were not authorized to talk to the media. The U.S. said 13 troops were killed successful the deadliest time for American forces successful Afghanistan since August 2011.

As Afghan officials struggled to woody with the dead, astatine slightest 10 bodies laic connected the grounds extracurricular Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, wherever relatives said the mortuary could instrumentality nary more.

As the telephone to supplication echoed Friday done Kabul on with the roar of departing planes, the anxious crowds extracurricular the city’s airdrome appeared arsenic ample arsenic ever contempt the risks. They are acutely alert that the model is closing to committee a formation earlier the airlift ends and Western troops withdraw.

In an affectional code Thursday night, President Joe Biden blamed the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate, which is acold much extremist than the Taliban fighters who seized powerfulness little than 2 weeks agone successful a lightning blitz crossed the country.

“We volition rescue the Americans; we volition get our Afghan allies out, and our ngo volition spell on,” Biden said. But contempt aggravated unit to widen Tuesday’s deadline and his vow to hunt down those responsible, helium has cited the menace of much violent attacks arsenic a crushed to support to his program — arsenic the Taliban person repeatedly insisted helium must.

The Taliban person wrested backmost power of Afghanistan 2 decades aft they were ousted successful a U.S.-led penetration pursuing the 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by al-Qaida extremists being harbored successful the country. Their instrumentality to powerfulness has terrified galore Afghans, who fearfulness they volition reimpose the benignant of repressive regularisation they did erstwhile they were past successful control. Thousands person rushed to fly the state up of the American withdrawal arsenic a result.

The U.S. said much than 100,000 radical person been safely evacuated from Kabul, but thousands much are struggling to permission successful 1 of history’s largest airlifts. The White House said Friday greeting that 8,500 evacuees were flown retired aboard U.S. subject craft successful the erstwhile 24 hours, on with astir 4,000 radical connected conjugation flights. That is astir the aforesaid full arsenic the time earlier the attacks.

More radical hoping to fly arrived Friday astatine the airport, though successful 1 country Taliban fighters acceptable up a cordon astir 500 meters (1,600 feet) away.

The attacks led Jamshad to caput determination successful the greeting with his woman and 3 tiny children, clutching an invitation to a Western state helium didn’t privation to name. This was his archetypal effort to leave.

“After the detonation I decided I would effort due to the fact that I americium acrophobic present determination volition beryllium much attacks, and I deliberation present I person to leave,” said Jamshad, who similar galore Afghans uses lone 1 name.

Others acknowledged that going to the airdrome was risky — but said they had fewer choices.

“Believe me, I deliberation that an detonation volition hap immoderate 2nd oregon minute, God is my witness, but we person tons of challenges successful our lives, that is wherefore we instrumentality the hazard to travel present and we flooded fear,” said Ahmadullah Herawi.

Many others volition effort to flight implicit onshore borders. The United Nations exile bureau said a half-million radical oregon much could fly successful a “worse-case scenario” successful the coming months.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the U.S. Central Command main overseeing the evacuation, warned that much were possible, and American commanders were moving with the Taliban to forestall them. Sweden’s overseas curate besides said determination was a threat, but offered nary details.

Scenes of chaos, desperation and fearfulness from the airdrome person transfixed the world. Images of radical lasting knee-deep successful sewage and families thrusting documents and adjacent young children toward U.S. troops down razor ligament person travel to symbolize some the disarray of the past days of the American beingness successful the state and the fears Afghans person for their future.

But chances to assistance those hoping to articulation the evacuation are fading fast. Many American allies person already ended their efforts, successful portion to springiness the U.S. clip to wrapper up its ain operations earlier getting 5,000 of its troops retired by Tuesday.

Britain said Friday its evacuations from Afghanistan volition extremity wrong hours, and the main British processing halfway for eligible Afghans has been closed. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News determination would beryllium “eight oregon nine” evacuation flights connected Friday. British troops volition permission implicit the adjacent fewer days.

Italy’s overseas curate confirmed that its past subject formation evacuating radical would depart aboriginal connected Friday. And the French European affairs minister, Clement Beaune, said connected Europe 1 vigor that the state volition extremity its cognition “soon” but whitethorn widen it until aft Friday night.

The Taliban person said they’ll let Afghans to permission via commercialized flights aft the U.S. withdrawal, but it remains unclear which airlines would instrumentality to an airdrome controlled by the militants.

They person asked Turkey to run Kabul airport, but a determination volition beryllium made “after the medication (in Afghanistan) is clear,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday. Taliban leaders person been holding talks with erstwhile Afghan leaders.

Untold numbers of Afghans, particularly ones who had worked with the U.S. and different Western countries, are present successful hiding, fearing retaliation contempt the group’s connection of afloat amnesty. The caller rulers person sought to task an representation of moderation successful caller weeks — a crisp opposition to the harsh regularisation they imposed from 1996 to 2001, erstwhile they required women to beryllium accompanied by a antheral comparative erstwhile they near home, banned tv and music, and held nationalist executions.

Despite the promises, Afghans successful Kabul and elsewhere person reported that immoderate Taliban members are barring girls from attending schoolhouse and going doorway to doorway successful hunt of radical who worked with Western forces.

The bombings besides rise questions astir the Taliban’s vows to bring information to Afghanistan. No 1 knows however effectual they volition beryllium astatine combating the Sunni extremists of IS, who person carried retired a bid of brutal attacks successful Afghanistan, chiefly targeting its Shiite Muslim minority.

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Akhgar reported from Istanbul, Gannon from Islamabad and Anna from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press writers astir the satellite contributed.

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More of AP’s Afghanistan coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan

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