by Debra Heine
Two explosions were reported in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, killing at least 70 people, and injuring dozens more, including multiple Marines, eleven of whom have died. (See update below for the latest on casualties).
A suicide bomb reportedly detonated outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), and another bomb went off at the nearby Baron Hotel, where Americans have been gathering for rescue and evacuation.
— Akilan Vijay 🔥 (@its_AkilanTweet) August 26, 2021
According to reports, U.S. forces exchanged fire with gunmen outside near the “Abbey” gate, where evacuees have gathered in large numbers in recent days.
— Hamid Haidari (@Hamidhaideri) August 26, 2021
U.S. officials confirmed to FOX News that at least three U.S. Marines were among those hurt, one of them seriously. U.S. casualty numbers are expected to increase.
Joe Biden last week vowed that “any attack” on American forces or disruption of its operations at the Kabul airport would be met with “a swift and forceful response.”
“We made clear to the Taliban that any attack, any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport will be met with a swift and forceful response,” Biden told reporters at a White House news conference.
Several countries, including the United States, urged people to avoid the airport earlier in the day, due to an undefined security threat.
A U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in an alert: “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that as many as 1,500 Americans may still be in the country.
“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby tweeted.
“We will provide additional details when we can.”
We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
Thousands of people have gathered outside the airport in recent days hoping to get aboard evacuation flights being conducted by the U.S. military ahead of its withdrawal from the country on Aug. 31.
The thousands of people still stranded in Afghanistan have been told to stay away from the Kabul airport due to the ongoing terrorist threat.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary insisted that the administration’s evacuation efforts can not be called “anything but a success.”
Biden claimed on August 20 that al-Qaeda has been wiped out in Afghanistan, and no longer posed a threat to the nation.
‘What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with al Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, as well as — as well as getting Osama bin Laden. And we did,” Biden said during a news conference.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, shortly thereafter disputed his claim al-Qaeda had no presence in Afghanistan, saying: “We know that Al-Qaeda is a presence…in Afghanistan.” ‘We don’t have an exact figure [of how many members].
Biden later downplayed the terrorist threat in an interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, telling him that al-Qaeda was a bigger threat in Syria and East Africa than in Afghanistan.
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Debra Heine reports for American Greatness.
Image “Kabul Explosion” by Akilan Vijay.