An ISIS fighter wearing a suicide vest and a car bomb were reportedly behind the two explosions outside Kabul’s airport Thursday that left at least 13 dead, including children, and dozens wounded, including at least three US soldiers, officials say.
One explosion occurred outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate, the airfield’s main entrance — near a canal filled with Afghans trying to get on evacuation flights, Sky News reported.
US troops exchanged gunfire soon after that explosion, sources told Politico.
The second blast occurred outside the nearby Baron Hotel in what the Pentagon is describing as a “complex attack.”
Officials haven’t confirmed which incident involved the suicide vest and which incident involved the car bomb. However, US officials strongly believe ISIS is to blame for the twin attacks.
A Taliban official said at least 13 people, including children, were killed and “many” Taliban guards were injured in the explosions.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said there were American casualities, although the exact number hasn’t been communicated.
“”We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate,” Kirby said.
At least three US troops were injured, including one who was seriously wounded, US officials said. An official told Reuters that US casualty numbers were expected to increase.
An emergency hospital in Kabul says they are treating more than 60 who were wounded in the explosions.
Harrowing footage from the scene shows more than a dozen bodies strewn like debris in the canal after the airport gate blast.
Images of blood-soaked people being rushed from the scene in wheelbarrows have also emerged.
An Afghan man who was near the first explosion said some people appeared to be missing body parts after the blast. Another told Fox News that a young girl died in his arms.
President Biden has been briefed on the explosions, according to a White House official.
He was in a security meeting about the Afghanistan situation when the first attack occurred.
The US and its allies have been warning of a possible terror attack by ISIS-K — the Afghan arm of ISIS — as the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw from the country approaches.
Just hours before the explosion, the US Embassy in Kabul urged Americans to stay away from the airport because of “security threats outside the gates.”
A State Department security alert also warned those at three specific airport gates to “leave immediately.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said up to 1,500 US citizens remain stranded in Afghanistan.
With Post wires