Kabul: US troops assisting in the evacuation of Afghans desperate to flee Taliban rule braced for more attacks on Friday (August 27), after the Islamic State struck Kabul airport’s crowded gates, killing scores of civilians and at least 13 US troops. According to Kabul health officials, 60 civilians were killed in the August 26 attack. Afghan journalists captured video of dozens of bodies strewn around a canal on the outskirts of the airport. Witnesses reported hearing at least two explosions and gunfire in the area.
According to the Islamic State (ISIS), one of its suicide bombers was targeting “translators and collaborators with the American army.” Officials in the United States also blamed the group and vowed retaliation. General Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said US commanders were on high alert for more Islamic State attacks, including rockets or vehicle-borne bombs targeting the airport. “We’re doing everything in our power to be ready,” he said.
US forces are racing to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden, who claims the US has long since accomplished its original goal of invading the country in 2001: to root out al Qaeda militants and prevent a repeat of the September 11 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.
According to video from the scene, corpses were found in the canal near the airport fence, with some being 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 trying to get to the airport said. “That small amount of water flowing through the sewage canal had turned into blood.”
Zubair, a 24-year-old civil engineer who had been attempting to enter the airport for nearly a week, said he was close to a suicide bomber who detonated explosives at the gate. “Men, women, and children screamed. I witnessed many injured people being loaded into private vehicles and driven to hospitals “He stated.
The attack, according to a Taliban spokesman, was the work of “evil circles” that would be suppressed once foreign troops left. Western countries are concerned that the Taliban, who once sheltered Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, will allow Afghanistan to revert to its former status as a haven for militants. The Taliban have stated that they will not allow terrorists to use their country.
The airlift continues.
Despite the threat of further attacks, the US would continue with evacuations, McKenzie said, noting that there were still around 1,000 US citizens in Afghanistan.
Western countries have evacuated nearly 100,000 people in the last 12 days. They admit, however, that thousands of people will be left behind when the last US troops leave at the end of the month. Several Western countries announced that the massive airlift of civilians was coming to an end, as well as the departure of their last remaining troops from the country.
The number of American casualties in Thursday’s attack is thought to be the highest number of US troops killed in Afghanistan in a single incident since 30 people were killed when a helicopter was shot down in 2011. The US deaths were the first in action in Afghanistan in 18 months, which critics are likely to point out as evidence of Biden’s reckless abandonment of a stable and hard-won status quo by ordering an abrupt pullout.