On Thursday, a suicide bomb attack that took place right outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul’s International Airport resulted in the death of 18 U.S. service members, with 18 other people injured. The incident has made it the deadliest one for American troops in 10 years.
Fox News reported that officials had revealed late Thursday that this death toll included 10 personnel from the Marines, 2 from the Army, and a Naval corpsman.
A firefight at the gate, perpetrated by gunmen from the Islamic State, ensued following the suicide bombing. The night before, around 5,000 Afghan residents and several Americans were at the area, trying to gain access to the airport, in the hopes of escaping the country. This scene is normal in the past few days as more people are desperately trying to flee the country.
ISIS Likely to Continue Attacks in Afghanistan
According to the Pentagon, along with the first explosion near the airport, a second one took place at the Baron Hotel, where some Americans have stayed in the past for rescue and evacuation. Per Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., two suicide bombers were found out to be fighters from ISIS.
He said that the threat from the Islamic State “is extremely real.” McKenzie added that they believe Isis wants to continue such attacks and that they expect these attacks to continue. He added that they are doing all that they can to be ready for any attacks from ISIS.
Following the attacks, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austing issued a statement.
He said: “On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today… Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others.”
“We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief. But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand, he went on to say”
The extent of the injuries suffered by the servicemen remains unclear, as well as how many other people were hurt in the crowds at the airport.
The Taliban managed to move swiftly across Afghanistan prior to the U.S.’s planned exit from the country. This caught U.S. troops off guard, resulting in chaotic scenes that take place at Kabul’s international airport. As of Thursday, 104,000 individuals have been evacuated, including 5,000 Americans. Per the Pentagon, around 1,000 U.S. citizens may still be in the middle-eastern country.
Currently, 5,200 U.S. military personnel, along with thousands of Afghan evacuees, are still on the tarmac, waiting to be rescued. U.S. planes have been taking off every 40 minutes out of the country.