Terrible bomb explosions outside Kabul airport this morning, a nasty incident to most-likely change the timbre of this whole Afghan ugly:
JUST IN: At least 12 members of the US military were killed and at least 15 more were injured in the attack at Kabul's airport, Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said at a briefing. https://t.co/26kYtRGi6m
— CNN (@CNN) August 26, 2021
Quick nutshell via CNN:
Twelve members of the US military were killed and 15 more were injured in the attack at Kabul’s airport, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said at a briefing.
“It’s a hard day today,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said the attack included two suicide bombers followed by gunmen opening fire.
There were at least two explosions near a gate at the Kabul airport today. They came as the US and other countries race to evacuate people ahead of President Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
Prior to Thursday, the last American troops killed in Afghanistan were in February 2020.
Further details per the Associated Press:
An Afghan official says at least 60 Afghans were killed and another 143 were wounded in the attack outside Kabul airport. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media. U.S. officials say 12 military service members were also killed in the attack outside the airport.
The dead include 11 Marines and one Navy medic, according to two U.S. officials.
They said another 12 service members were wounded and warned the toll could grow.
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.
This incident will unlock shit from Republicans — but the bravery of our troops:
Yesterday, a day before the explosion, US Marines who manned Abbey Gate had already been briefed on the potential of a suicide vest detonating near their position, but continued processing those trying to gain entry. https://t.co/VhpX4WbfWO
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) August 26, 2021
And more via the NYT piece:
In the final days of the 20-year U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the bombing caused the second-deadliest American toll of the war.
The blasts struck in the middle of a dense crowd of families at the airport gates who were desperately hoping to make one of the last evacuation flights out.
Gunfire was reported in the aftermath of the explosions.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings.
But the night before, a senior U.S. official warned of a “specific” and “credible” threat at the airport by an affiliate of the Islamic State, the Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, and Western governments began urging people to leave the area.
Even with such a specific warning, military officials said, it would be very difficult to pick out a suicide bomber with a concealed explosive vest in a huge throng of people, like that at the airport.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said of the American service members, many of them Marines, that “terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others.”
Maybe more later this afternoon.
And (as always), once again, here we are…
(Illustration out front: Edvard Munch‘s ‘The Scream,’ lithograph version, found here).