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A number of U.S. service members had been killed within the assault close to Kabul airport, Pentagon says

Smoke rises from explosion outdoors the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The explosion went off outdoors Kabul’s airport, the place 1000’s of individuals have flocked as they attempt to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Wali Sabawoon | AP

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that a number of U.S. service members have been killed after two explosions went off close to Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We will verify that numerous U.S. service members had been killed in immediately’s complicated assault at Kabul airport. A variety of others are being handled for wounds,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby mentioned in a press release.

“We additionally know that numerous Afghans fell sufferer to this heinous assault. Our ideas and prayers exit to the family members and teammates of all these killed and injured,” he added.

About 5,400 U.S. servicemembers are helping with evacuation efforts in Kabul. The British have about 1,000 troops helping with the evacuation efforts. The U.Ok. Ministry of Protection mentioned there have been no reported casualties amongst its authorities and navy personnel in Kabul after the assault.

Kirby mentioned the explosion on the airport’s Abbey Gate “was the results of a posh assault that resulted in numerous U.S. and civilian casualties.” At the very least one different explosion occurred close to the Baron Lodge not removed from the Abbey Gate, he added.

The Pentagon has delayed a press briefing that was initially scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been briefed on the state of affairs.

“The president met together with his nationwide safety group Thursday morning, together with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees U.S. Military Gen. Mark Milley in addition to commanders on the bottom in Kabul,” the White Home mentioned in a press release.

“He’ll proceed to be briefed on updates on the evolving state of affairs all through the day,” the assertion added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has additionally been up to date on the state of affairs on the airport, a spokesperson mentioned.

A gathering slated for 11:30 p.m. ET between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the White Home has additionally been delayed.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul described the explosion as “giant” and mentioned there have been experiences of gunfire, urging Individuals to keep away from journey to the airport and its gates.

The embassy had beforehand issued a safety alert urging Individuals to keep away from the airport, “U.S. residents who’re on the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now ought to depart instantly,” the alert mentioned.

Within the final 24 hours, Western forces evacuated 13,400 folks out of Kabul on 91 navy cargo plane flights. Because the mass evacuations started Aug. 14, roughly 95,700 folks have been airlifted out of Afghanistan.

About 101,300 folks have been evacuated for the reason that finish of July, together with about 4,500 U.S. residents and their households.

Warning: Graphic picture. Volunteers and medical workers unload our bodies from a pickup truck outdoors a hospital after two highly effective explosions, which killed not less than six folks, outdoors the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Photographs

Blinken mentioned Wednesday that there could also be as many as 1,500 Individuals in Afghanistan left to evacuate, a calculation he defined was “troublesome to pin down with absolute precision at any given second.”

The nation’s high diplomat added that the U.S. presently is “aggressively reaching out” to about 1,000 contacts “a number of instances a day, by means of a number of channels of communication” to find out in the event that they nonetheless need to depart and to present them directions on how to take action.

Blinken added the precise quantity is also decrease.

“The U.S. authorities doesn’t observe Individuals’ actions after they journey all over the world,” Blinken mentioned in his first press briefing for the reason that collapse of the Afghan authorities to the Taliban greater than per week in the past.

“There could possibly be different Individuals in Afghanistan who by no means enrolled with the embassy, who ignored public evacuation notices and haven’t but recognized themselves.”

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

Biden on Tuesday reiterated to leaders of the G-7, NATO, United Nations and European Union that the USA will withdraw its navy from Afghanistan by the top of the month.

The president warned that staying longer in Afghanistan carries severe dangers for international troops and civilians. Biden mentioned ISIS-Ok, an Afghanistan-based affiliate of the phobia group, presents a rising menace to the airport.

“On daily basis we’re on the bottom is one other day we all know that ISIS-Ok is looking for to focus on the airport and assault each U.S. and allied forces and harmless civilians,” he mentioned.

The Taliban mentioned earlier Tuesday that the group will not permit Afghan nationals to go away the nation on evacuation flights nor will they settle for an extension of the withdrawal deadline past the top of the month.

“We aren’t in favor of permitting Afghans to go away,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid advised reporters throughout a information convention Tuesday.

“They [the Americans] have the chance, they’ve all of the sources, they’ll take all of the folks that belong to them, however we’re not going to permit Afghans to go away and we is not going to lengthen the deadline,” he mentioned. Evacuations carried out by international forces after Aug. 31 could be a “violation” of a Biden administration promise to finish the U.S. navy’s mission within the nation, Mujahid mentioned.

— CNBC’s Spencer Kimball contributed to this report from New York.

This story is growing. Please test again for updates.

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