ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Some US Marines are also among those who were killed while a number of other American military personnel were wounded Thursday in an attack on Kabul’s airport.
U.S. officials have said that information is still coming in and they were trying to determine exact numbers of casualties.
The Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed two blasts that occurred outside the airport, but he would not say what troops were involved but acknowledged that “a number of U.S. service members were killed.”
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. At least 13 people were killed and 15 wounded, Russian officials said.
One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier had hoped to get on flights out could be seen carrying the wounded to ambulances in a daze, their own clothes darkened with blood.
A U.S. official said the complex attack was believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz and condemned the attack.
At least 13 people died and 15 were wounded, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which gave the first official casualty count. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also confirmed the blasts and said there were casualties but gave no figure. He said one explosion was near an airport entrance and another was a short distance away by a hotel.
A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, said members of the American military were among the wounded.
Even as the area was hit, the official said evacuation flights continued to take off from Kabul airport.
Adam Khan was waiting nearby when he saw the first explosion outside what’s known as the Abbey gate. He said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who were maimed.
The second blast was at or near Baron Hotel, where many people, including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation.
A former Royal Marine who runs an animal shelter in Afghanistan says he and his staff were caught up in the aftermath of the blast near the airport.
“All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47,” Paul “Pen” Farthing a news agency.