A double attack claimed by ISIS left more than 60 dead at Kabul airport

The crisis in Afghanistan took a dramatic turn on Thursday with a double attack claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group that killed at least 60 Afghan civilians and 13 US military personnel at the Kabul airport., where the evacuations of civilians fleeing the new Taliban regime continued. In the first of the attacks, a suicide bomber from the terrorist group detonated a bomb in one of the entrances to the airport, while another set off the explosives he was carrying in the vicinity of a hotel near the air terminal.

ISIS-K, the regional branch of the extremist force in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attacks according to a message posted on its Telegram channel. For his part The Taliban condemned the bloody attacks, noting that they took place in an area under US military control. Both the United States and the United Kingdom had been warning of a “heightened terrorist threat” at the site. President Joe Biden promised to respond “with force and precision” to the attacks. Despite the rain of criticism for the withdrawal, Biden confirmed that the United States will leave Afghanistan and will do so on the promised date, August 31. “It is time to end a 20-year war”, Shooting.

How did the attacks take place?

This is the first attack of its kind since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15.despite tight security checks by Islamists in Kabul. The first of the explosions took place at 6:24 p.m. in Afghanistan near one of the access gates to the airport in the Afghan capital. When all eyes pointed to that place and it was about helping the victims, the second explosion occurred through a car bomb., about 300 meters away and next to the Baron hotel, the base used by the United Kingdom to coordinate its evacuations.

A former British military man who witnessed the attack from a car arriving at Kabul airport said he saw one of the assailants armed with an AK-47 rifle. “Suddenly we heard shots and our vehicle was attacked, and if our driver had not turned around, he would have been shot in the head by a man.”, detailed Paul Farthing.

Afghans in blood-soaked clothes and crying women tried to leave the area, while dozens of wounded were transported in wheelbarrows. “Bodies and chunks of meat were dumped into a nearby canal” described an eyewitness, Milad, to the AFP agency. “When people heard the explosion the panic was total. The Taliban started shooting into the air to disperse people,” added a second witness.

The young man assured that in the confusion he lost all the documents that would have allowed him to board a flight with his wife and three children. “I don’t want to go back to the airport anymore. Damn the United States, its evacuation and its visas.”he exclaimed.

Shortly after the attacks, several foreign media reported two other explosions in the Afghan capital but the Taliban movement spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, ruled out that they were attacks. Mujahid maintained that they were controlled explosions by US forces to destroy munitions.

Claiming the ISIS-K

The attacks were recognized by the Afghan branch of ISIS, according to a statement from its information agency Amaq. The so-called Islamic State of Khorasan (ISIS-K) detailed the way in which one of the explosions occurred, perpetrated by one of his suicide fighters after pass security checks “of US forces and the Taliban militia around the capital“.

“He was able to reach a large concentration of translators and US Army collaborators in Baran camp, near Kabul airport, and detonated an explosive belt, killing about 60 people and wounding 100, including members of the Taliban.” added the jihadists in their version of events.

“We will make them pay”

The president of United States, Joe Biden, promised revenge against the perpetrators of the attacks. “For those who committed this attack, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt them down and make them pay. I will defend my people and our interests with all the strength I have, “Biden promised in a speech to the nation from the White House.

“We will respond in our time with the force and in the place that we decide”added a Biden who had to cancel his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on a visit to Washington. The Democratic President he also launched two thinly veiled criticisms of the Taliban.

First linked the attacks to the insurgent movement’s decision to open the prisons and release all those detained in the country. “They immediately began to plan attacks against US forces,” said the president in reference to alleged released ISIS prisoners.

After criticized the Taliban’s chain of command, implying that the agreements they negotiated with the leadership to guarantee evacuations were not always fulfilled in the streets, especially around the airport, where one of the two ISIS suicide bombers blew himself up. “It is not what you would call a well-coordinated operation from the command as is that of the US forces,” he said.

Biden stressed that “There is no evidence that there has been a collusion between the Taliban and the ISIS and acknowledged that at this time both his government and the Islamist movement “have a common interest”: that the United States withdraws on August 31 and leaves the last point it controls in the country, the capital’s international airport, as agreed the previous administration of Donald Trump.

The Taliban, tough on the United States

The Taliban movement came out to hold the United States responsible for Thursday’s security breaches. The attacks “took place in an area where security is in the hands of US forces.”, assured Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamist group. The Taliban are “paying close attention to the safety and security of their people, and those responsible will be detained,” he added.

We demand the withdrawal of the Americans within the specified time and on the specified date. We do not plan to extend the terms of your stay in Afghanistan “ after the explosions in the capital, Mujahid stressed, indicating that this applies only to military personnel and that the transfer of civilians can continue beyond August 31.

In his view, the United States Army has all the capabilities to complete the exit on time. “They have big planes, they can evacuate their forces and employees but they must not take common Afghans or force them to leave.”, the spokesman warned at a press conference.

International repudiation

The double attack garnered the unanimous rejection of the international community and deepened the commitment of the United States and its allies to continue and complete evacuations before the end of the month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced an attack “absolutely despicable” He added that “it is a very, very tense situation to get people out of the country.” Germany indicated through a statement that it has already concluded its evacuations.

The French President, Emmanuel macron, assured instead that “hundreds” of people still needed to be evacuated. “As we speak, we have 20 buses of dual citizens and Afghans that we want to repatriate,” Macron said. For his part, the British Prime Minister, Boris johnson, promise that the evacuation operation in Afghanistan will continue despite the “barbaric” and “despicable” double attack that occurred at the Kabul airport.

The tension across the powers is such that UN Secretary General António Guterres called a meeting of the permanent members of the Security Council. Guterres sent letters formally inviting the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China to meet next Monday. Russia was reportedly reticent, but all five are expected to attend.

In the last week, Kabul airport was the scene of some of the harshest images of the end of the longest war in American history. Flight after flight has left there to remove those who fear reprisals for having collaborated or worked for foreign forces, or that the Taliban will re-impose the brutal regime that characterized their previous government until it was overthrown by an international invasion led by Americans in 2001.

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