UPDATE: 13 U.S. soldiers are now believed killed, 20 troops wounded, 10 in critical condition, according to Pentagon sources.
JUST IN: The number of U.S. Soldiers Killed in terror attack rises to 10
Evacuation efforts in Kabul, Afghanistan were dealt a tremendous blow today as two explosions were carried out at the Kabul airport and a nearby hotel where civilians awaited evacuation transportation.
Press Secretary for the Pentagon John Kirby tweeted from the official Pentagon Press Secretary Twitter account @PentagonPresSec just around 9am Thursday about the explosion in Kabul.
“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. We will continue to update.”
Shortly after, another tweet read, “Evacuation operations in Kabul will not be wrapping up in 36 hours. We will continue to evacuate as many people as we can until the end of the mission.”
The Wall Street Journal reports at least 13 Afghans and 4 United States military troops were killed and “the initial toll from the explosion is likely to rise. Kabul’s Emergency Hospital, which is run by an Italian organization, said 60 patients had arrived at its surgical center, including six who were dead on arrival.”
Shortly after 1pm Eastern, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby tweeted a press release titled “Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on This Morning’s Attack on HKIA.” The statement reads, “We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.”
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
“While no group claimed immediate responsibility, Western governments warned earlier Thursday of an imminent attack by Islamic State’s regional affiliate.” ISIS and the Taliban have “fought each other in Afghanistan since 2015” and “as recently as Tuesday, Mr. Shahen, the Taliban spokesman, told Iranian State media that Islamic State no longer existed in Afghanistan” reported the WSJ.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid released a statement saying the “Islamic Emirate” condemns the “bombing of civilians” at the Kabul airport, “which took place in an area where US forces are responsible for security” in a perceived attempt to blame the United States for lack of protection from the attack.