At least one massive explosion has occurred at the Kabul airport from which NATO forces are overseeing evacuations. What appeared to be a suicide bombing at one of the crowded main gates of the airport was reportedly followed by an exchange of gunfire and another blast in an evidently coordinated attack. The explosion followed increasingly insistent warnings from Western governments today about the likelihood of an attack.
Explosion and gunfire reported
ISIS in Afghanistan has been the top concern for troops at the Kabul airport; the group is relatively small and disorganized but amid the airport chaos any attack would be easy to carry out.
Taliban guards were reportedly killed and injured in the initial attack in addition to several American soldiers who were injured. The severity of these injuries is unclear.
Civilian deaths were also not immediately known; conflicting reports so far have generally agreed that more than ten were killed.
The U.S. Embassy renewed its earlier warning to American citizens still in Kabul, telling them to leave the area immediately and to not attempt to reach the airport for now.
In the hours before the attack multiple countries had warned their citizens that an attack by ISIS was likely imminent.
No one has claimed credit for the attack yet but ISIS, which is opposed to both the Taliban and NATO, has always been considered the most likely threat to the safety of the evacuation.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 26, 2021
The attack is reported to have been complex and coordinated. There was reportedly an abundance of gunfire but the source and purpose of this is unclear.
Both Taliban and NATO forces have frequently fired into the air to disperse crowds and there have been several exchanged of fire between NATO guards and unknown assailants.
The White House has confirmed that August 31 is still the deadline for the completion of the American withdrawal. With the threat of attacks now made very real the future of the evacuation effort is more uncertain than ever.