The Pentagon confirmed that 12 American soldiers were killed and 15 injured in the attacks that took place at Kabul airport on Thursday. “We will continue our evacuation mission,” assured the head of the US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie.
“As you know, today has been a very tough day,” General Kenneth McKenzie said in a specially convened conference, referring to the attacks carried out on Thursday near the airport in Kabul . He confirmed that the attacks – at the airport and near the Baron Hotel and one of the main entrances to the port – Abbey Gate – were perpetrated by two suicide bombers linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS). The terrorist organization admitted to carrying them out, informing about it on one of the messengers.
As a result of the explosion, 12 American soldiers were killed and 15 were injured. The number of Afghan deaths in the attack is unknown. According to estimates by Western agencies, there may be several dozen of them, and the number of injured people may exceed 100.
The head of the US Central Command said that, according to his information, the explosion, which killed American soldiers, took place at the gate to the airport, probably when the attacker was searched by the military. He added that after the explosions other fighters, the so-called Islamic State opened fire on the crowds near the airport and US forces.00:00 / 02:46
Continuation of the evacuation action
– I would like to be clear. We are very saddened by the losses among Americans and Afghans alike, but we will continue our mission to evacuate US citizens, third country nationals, special visa holders, and Afghans at risk, the general assured. He reported that there are currently about 1,000 US citizens in Afghanistan. “We are constantly focused on protecting our forces and the evacuees,” added General McKenzie.
The Pentagon official also said the threat of further attacks was “very real”. “We expected it to come to that, we still have credible streams of information on the threat from IS,” he said. As he added, one of the threats may be an attempt to detonate a bomb car. At the same time, he stressed that IS jihadists did not have equipment that would allow them to attack departing planes, although shots were fired in their direction.
McKenzie said that attacks by the IS had already been prevented, including through information exchange with the Taliban. This cooperation will continue, he said. “Of course, there was a mistake at one point, but we don’t know where yet,” he admitted. At the same time, he said that he did not believe that the Taliban would deliberately allow the attack, because he and the US have a common goal – to leave Kabul airport as soon as possible.
In response to the attacks, the security cordon around the airport will be increased and some roads will be closed.