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Live updates: Biden commits to continuation of evacuations following attack on airport in Kabul

Smoke rises from explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
Smoke rises from explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021

  • At least two explosions went off in Kabul near the airport on Thursday resulting in both US and Afghan casualties.
  • The first blast was at the Abbey Gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport; the second was at the Baron Hotel nearby.
  • At least 13 US service members and dozens of civilians were killed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At least two blasts near the airport in Kabul on Thursday have caused multiple American and Afghan casualties.

At least 13 US service members were killed and at least 18 were wounded. The BBC is reporting that at least 60 were killed during the blasts, citing a health official in Kabul.

The two explosions, one at the Abbey Gate outside of the airport and the other at the Baron Hotel nearby, are believed to have been carried out by ISIS, according to US officials.

The death toll for US service members grows to 13

kabul explosion afghanistan
Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

At least 13 US service members were killed, and at least 18 were wounded, as of Thursday evening — updated numbers from earlier on Thursday. 

The news of the thirteenth death came hours after Commander of US Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie’s announcement that 12 US service members had been killed.

“I can confirm that subsequent to Gen. McKenzie’s remarks, a thirteenth US service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate,” a spokesperson from CENTCOM said. 

CENTCOM said that those injured are being transported via air “on specially equipped C-17s with embarked surgical units.”

“We continue to provide the best possible medical care to those injured. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the injured and to the friends and family of those who were killed,” CENTCOM concluded. 

Biden addressed the nation on Thursday following the attack in Kabul

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 26: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. At least 12 American service members were killed on Thursday by suicide bomb attacks near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. At least 12 American service members were killed on Thursday by suicide bomb attacks near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden assured the American people that the US citizens will continue to be evacuated despite the attacks in Kabul on Thursday. He said that the attacks were more reason to evacuate Americans by the August 31 deadline. 

“We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on,” he said.

The President also promised to exact retribution on those responsible for the attack: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

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The attack resulted in at least 60 deaths and 140 injuries, according to the BBC

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Taliban fighters stand on a pickup truck outside a hospital as volunteers bring injured people for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021.
Graphic content / Taliban fighters stand on a pickup truck outside a hospital as volunteers bring injured people for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021.

The BBC reported that the explosions have resulted in at least 60 people killed and 140 people injured, according to a health official in Kabul.

Reuters, also citing a health official in Kabul, reported that 60 civilians were killed.

Recent bombing heard in Kabul said to be controlled explosion by US military, a Taliban spokesman said

Taliban spokesman
Suhail Shaheen of the Taliban’s political office during a press conference at Radisson Hotel, Moscow on July 9 2021.

Reports of a recent blast heard in Kabul is said to have been a controlled explosion set off by the US military in an effort to destroy ammunition, a Taliban spokesperson said

There have been no further confirmations of other bombings in Kabul by the Pentagon at this time. 

Biden will speak Thursday evening following terror attacks in Afghanistan that killed multiple US service members

joe biden
U.S. President Joe Biden pauses while giving remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House August 16, 2021.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on Afghanistan on Thursday evening following multiple deadly explosions at the Kabul airport. 

The president is set to speak at 5:00 p.m. ET and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will brief reporters at 5:45 p.m. following Biden’s speech.

Biden’s address comes after Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., a top commander of US Central Command, warned that the ISIS-linked terror attacks are likely to continue amid the ongoing evacuation in Kabul.

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Witnesses describe scenes of horror following attacks at Kabul airport

Kabul, Afghanistan
A US Black Hawk military helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, August 15, 2021.

Witnesses described scenes of horror and chaos Thursday in the aftermath of multiple deadly bombings outside the Kabul airport. 

The attacks — believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State terror group affiliate, ISIS-K — rocked the entrance to an airport that has been the stage of desperation and heartbreak over the last two weeks. 

“There was a very strong and powerful suicide attack, in the middle of the people. Many were killed, including Americans,” a witness who only identified himself as Jamshed told Reuters

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Afghan interpreter who witnessed Kabul explosions says a baby girl died in his arms as he tried to save her

A view of a hospital as unspecified number of casualties reported after two explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
A view of a hospital as unspecified number of casualties reported after two explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

An Afghan interpreter who was at the scene of the first explosion outside the Kabul airport on Thursday said a baby girl died in his arms as he tried to save her.

“There was a lot of traffic. I had to get out and pick her up again,” he told CBS News. “I took her to the hospital, but she died on my hands. … I tried. I did my best to help her.”

The baby girl has not been publicly identified. At least 60 people are believed to be dead and 140 injured following explosions at Abbey Gate and a nearby hotel, according to reports

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Top US general warns ISIS-K attacks likely to continue in Afghanistan and that they US will pursue those responsible

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2021

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, on Thursday confirmed that terror attacks in Kabul killed at least 12 US service members.

He said at least 15 other service members were wounded and attributed the attacks to ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan.

“The threat from ISIS is extremely real,” McKenzie said. “We believe it is their desire to continue those attacks, and we expect those attacks to continue.”

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US will keep evacuating all Americans and allies despite Kabul bombings, top general says

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Kabul airport

The US will continue to evacuate Americans and allies despite multiple deadly bombings outside the Kabul airport, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command, said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack,” he said. “And we will coordinate to make sure it’s safe for American citizens to come to the airfield. If it’s not, we’ll tell them to hold and work other ways to get them to the airport. We’ll continue to flow them out until the end of the month.”

McKenzie said the mission is to evacuate US citizens, third-country nationals, special immigrant Visa holders, US embassy staff, and Afghans at risk.

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US troops were killed in an explosive attack at Kabul’s airport, Pentagon says

US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan
US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan

Multiple US service members were killed in the deadly attacks at the Kabul airport on Thursday. 

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said in a press conference on Thursday, that at least 12 US service members were killed, and 15 others were wounded.

Thursday’s deaths mark the first US military combat deaths in Afghanistan since February 2020.

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A map of the Kabul airport shows the choke points that make people trying to flee Afghanistan so vulnerable to attacks

Map of where explosions occurred near the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

A map of the Kabul airport clearly shows the overcrowded areas that were vulnerable to attacks like the ones seen on Thursday. 

The Abbey Gate was flooded with desperate Afghans attempting to flee the country. 

The Baron Hotel was being used by Canada and the United Kingdom to collect Afghans approved for evacuation. Last week, American helicopters transported 169 Americans from the hotel to the airport. 

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What is ISIS-K? The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate is the Taliban’s enemy and threatens US evacuations

Members of ISIS-K in Afghanistan.
Members of ISIS-K stand in front of their weapons as they surrendered to the government in Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan on November 17, 2019.

ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, is thought to be behind deadly bombings in Kabul on Thursday.

ISIS-K — the Islamic State in Khorasan Province or ISIS-Khorasan — are known to be sworn enemies of the Taliban. 

They remain a threat as evacuations in Kabul continue over the next five days. 

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There were multiple explosions during a ‘complex attack’ outside Kabul airport amid evacuations, Pentagon says

People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 25, 2021
People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 25, 2021.

There were at least two explosions just outside the Kabul airport as Americans and Afghans waited to flee the country. 

The Pentagon confirmed that it was “a complex attack” that resulted in US and civilian casualties and is warning of more potential terrorist attacks. 

The first explosion took place at the Abbey Gate and the second was at the nearby Baron Hotel. 

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The lucky ones: Photos show Afghans arriving in Virginia after evacuating Kabul

Afghan families arrive in Washington D.C.

More than 8,600 lucky Afghans arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as of Wednesday, according to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The evacuees were then taken to Dulles Expo Center in Fairfax County, a 100,000-square-foot convention center that was turned into a shelter.

But the shelter is only temporary. After they have been given medical assistance, they will wait to be taken to military installations across the US.

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Germany, Canada, and Belgium have finished evacuating people from Afghanistan as the US scrambles to get people out of Kabul

Crowds at kabul airport
Men stand behind barbed wire fencing at the Kabul airport.

As the US faces a hard evacuation deadline of August 31, Germany, Canada, Poland, and Belgium have completed their evacuation missions from Kabul.

The Czech Republic finished their evacuation efforts last week, and France is set to complete theirs before the US

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The US has 5 more days to get people out of Afghanistan, but Taliban and ISIS attacks are preventing people from reaching the airport

Kabul airport
People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 24, 2021.

The Biden Administration has five days until the evacuation deadline of August 31, which the president chose not to extend on Tuesday. 

But mounting threats and two bomb attacks are making the situation in Kabul even direr than it already was. 

Multiple American and Afghan casualties have been reported as a result of Thursday’s blasts.

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