By SAYED ZIARMAL HASHEMI, LOLITA C. BALDOR and JOSEPH KRAUSS
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two termination bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing adjacent the Kabul airdrome Thursday, successful the waning days of a monolithic airlift that has drawn thousands of radical seeking to fly the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. At slightest 13 radical were killed and 15 wounded, Russian officials said.
A U.S. authoritative said the analyzable onslaught was “definitely believed” to person been carried retired by the Islamic State group, whose affiliate successful Afghanistan grew retired of disaffected Taliban members who clasp an adjacent much utmost presumption of Islam.
At slightest 13 radical died and 15 were wounded, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which gave the archetypal authoritative casualty count. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby besides confirmed the blasts, saying 1 was adjacent an airdrome entranceway and different was a abbreviated region distant by a hotel.
The U.S. authoritative said members of the U.S. subject were among the wounded. The authoritative spoke connected information of anonymity to sermon ongoing operations.
Even arsenic the country was hit, the authoritative said evacuation flights continued to instrumentality disconnected from Kabul airport, which Western governments earlier warned was a target.
One detonation went disconnected successful a assemblage of radical waiting to participate the airport, according to Adam Khan, an Afghan waiting nearby. He said respective radical appeared to person been killed oregon wounded, including immoderate who mislaid assemblage parts.
Several countries urged radical to debar the airdrome earlier successful the day, with 1 saying determination was a menace of a termination bombing. But conscionable days — oregon adjacent hours for immoderate nations — earlier the evacuation effort ends, fewer appeared to heed the call.
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.
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 pledged not to onslaught Western forces during the evacuation, but importune the overseas troops indispensable beryllium retired by America’s self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31.
Overnight, warnings emerged from Western capitals astir a menace from Afghanistan’s Islamic State radical affiliate, which apt has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during their blitz crossed the country.
British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC aboriginal Thursday determination was ”very, precise credible reporting of an imminent attack” astatine the airport, perchance wrong “hours.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his state had received accusation from the U.S. and different countries astir the “threat of termination attacks connected the wide of people.”
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 and did not accidental whether the menace remained.
A portion later, the blast was reported. U.S. President Joe Biden has been briefed connected the explosion, the White House says.
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, with Australia’s overseas curate saying determination was a “very precocious menace of a violent attack.”
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied that immoderate onslaught was imminent successful the aftermath of those warnings.
Earlier Thursday, 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.”
Gunshots aboriginal echoed successful the country arsenic Sadat waited. “There is anarchy due to the fact that of immense crowds,” she said, blaming the U.S. for the chaos.
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.”
Many Afghans stock those fears. The hard-line Islamic radical wrested backmost power of the state astir 20 years aft being ousted successful a U.S.-led penetration pursuing the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida orchestrated portion being sheltered by the group.
Senior U.S. officials said Wednesday’s informing from the embassy was related to circumstantial threats involving the Islamic State radical and imaginable conveyance bombs. The officials spoke connected information of anonymity due to the fact that they were not authorized to sermon ongoing subject operations.
The Sunni extremists 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. But IS fighters were apt freed from prisons on with different inmates during the Taliban’s accelerated advance. Extremists whitethorn person seized dense weapons and instrumentality abandoned by Afghan troops.
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,” said Canadian General Wayne Eyre, the country’s acting Chief of Defense Staff.
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.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL vigor his country’s efforts would halt Friday evening. Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned: “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.
The Taliban person promised to instrumentality Afghanistan to information and pledged they won’t question revenge connected those who opposed them oregon rotation backmost advancement connected quality rights. But galore Afghans are skeptical.
Ziar Yad, an Afghan writer from backstage broadcaster Tolo News, said Taliban fighters bushed him and his workfellow and confiscated their cameras, method instrumentality and a mobile telephone arsenic they tried to study connected poorness successful Kabul.
“The contented has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators person not yet been arrested, which is simply a superior menace to state of expression,” Yad wrote connected Twitter.
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; 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 and Robert Burns successful Washington contributed to this report.