Following the carnage at Kabul’s airport, the United States is on high alert for further ISIS attacks

On Friday, U.S. forces assisting in the evacuation of Afghans fleeing Taliban rule were on high alert for further attacks after at least one Islamic State suicide bomber killed 85 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, outside Kabul airport.

According to witnesses, two explosions and gunfire shook the area outside the airport on Thursday evening. Afghan journalists captured video of dozens of bodies strewn around a canal on the airport’s outskirts.

According to a health official and a Taliban official, the death toll in Afghanistan has risen to 72, including 28 Taliban members, though a Taliban spokesman later denied that any of their fighters guarding the airport perimeter had been killed.

The US military said 13 service members were killed and 18 were injured in what it called a complex attack.

The Islamic State (ISIS), a foe of both the Islamist Taliban and the West, claimed one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army.”

It was unclear whether both explosions were caused by suicide bombers or by a planted bomb. It was also unclear whether ISIS gunmen were involved in the attack or whether the firing that followed the explosions was carried out by Taliban guards firing into the air to control crowds.

Officials in the United States vowed retaliation. General Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said US commanders were on the lookout for more Islamic State attacks, possibly involving rockets or car bombs aimed at the airport. “We’re doing everything we can to be ready,” he said, adding that intelligence was being shared with the Taliban and that “some attacks have been thwarted by them.”

US forces are rushing to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the deadline set by President Joe Biden on August 31. He claims that the US has long since achieved its original goal of invading the country in 2001: to root out al Qaeda militants and prevent a repeat of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

Biden stated that he had directed the Pentagon to devise a strategy for striking ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that claimed responsibility. “We are not going to forgive. We will not be forgotten. We’ll track you down and make you pay “Biden stated this during televised remarks from the White House.

DIFFICULT

Following the attack, video showed corpses in a waste water canal near the airport fence, some of which were fished out and laid in heaps while wailing civilians searched for loved ones. “I saw bodies and body parts flying through the air like a tornado blowing plastic bags,” one Afghan witness remarked. “That small amount of water flowing through the sewage canal had turned into blood.”

According to witnesses, Taliban guards barred access to the airport on Friday. “We had a flight, but the situation is very difficult, and the roads are blocked,” one man said on an airport approach road.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the threat of attacks would grow as Western troops neared the end of the massive airlift and departure. “The narrative will always be that as we leave, certain groups like ISIS will want to stake a claim that they have driven out the United States or the United Kingdom,” Wallace told Sky News. He also vowed to take action against ISIS wherever it appears.

ISIS-K was initially confined to areas near the Pakistani border, but has since established a second front in the country’s north. According to the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, ISIS-K consists of Pakistanis from other militant groups as well as Uzbek extremists in addition to Afghans.

Western countries are concerned that the Taliban, who once sheltered Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda before being deposed by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, will allow them to return to power.

Afghanistan will once again become a haven for militants. The Taliban have stated that they will not allow terrorists to use their country.

Despite the threat of further attacks, the US will continue with evacuations, McKenzie said, noting that there were still about 1,000 US citizens in Afghanistan.

According to a Western security official inside the airport, the pace of flights picked up on Friday, and American passport holders were allowed to enter the airport compound.

Western countries have airlifted nearly 100,000 people in the last 12 days. They acknowledge, however, that thousands of people will be left behind when the last US troops leave at the end of the month.

Concerns are growing that the remaining population will face a humanitarian crisis as the coronavirus spreads and food and medical supplies become scarce.

The World Health Organization stated that it hoped to establish an air bridge into the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with the assistance of Pakistani authorities in order to bring medical supplies in.

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