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13 U.S. service members killed, 18 wounded in assault close to Kabul airport, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON — A thirteenth U.S. service member has died from his wounds and the variety of injured has risen to 18 after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive close to Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.

The injured service members are being evacuated from Afghanistan on specifically geared up C-17 plane with surgical models, a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command mentioned Thursday night.

U.S. Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, mentioned in a briefing earlier Thursday that quite a lot of Afghan civilians have been additionally killed, however he was not capable of present a exact quantity.

The final, who oversees the U.S. navy’s operations within the area, mentioned that the Pentagon was working to find out attribution for the assault however added that the present evaluation is that the bomber is affiliated with ISIS.

ISIS later claimed accountability for the assault.

McKenzie mentioned that the U.S. remains to be monitoring “extraordinarily lively threats” to the airport that vary from suicide bombers to rocket assaults. McKenzie mentioned that regardless of the assault, the U.S. emergency evacuation mission continues.

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences in a press release Thursday and condemned the assault that “took their lives on the very second these troops have been making an attempt to avoid wasting the lives of others.”

“We is not going to be dissuaded from the duty at hand. To do something much less — particularly now — would dishonor the aim and sacrifice these women and men have rendered our nation and the folks of Afghanistan,” Austin added.

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

President Joe Biden addressed the nation on the assault Thursday night.

“The president met together with his nationwide safety crew Thursday morning, together with Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 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.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul had issued a safety alert Wednesday 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.

The embassy once more advised Individuals after the assault Thursday to not journey to the airport and to keep away from its gates.

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 5,000 U.S. residents and their households.

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

Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Photographs

A State Division spokesperson mentioned Thursday that about 500 of the 1,500 Individuals believed to be nonetheless in Afghanistan have been evacuated.

“We are actually in touch with the roughly 1,000 Individuals we consider stay in Afghanistan. And, the overwhelming majority — over two-thirds — knowledgeable us that they have been taking steps to depart,” the spokesperson added.

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 tip of the month.

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

“Every single day we’re on the bottom is one other day we all know that ISIS-Okay 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 now not permit Afghan nationals to depart the nation on evacuation flights nor will they settle for an extension of the withdrawal deadline past the tip of the month.

“We aren’t in favor of permitting Afghans to depart,” 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 those who belong to them, however we aren’t going to permit Afghans to depart and we is not going to prolong 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.

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