WASHINGTON – Two suicide bombings believed to be have been carried out by an Islamic State group outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday left an undetermined number of American military and civilian casualties as U.S. and allied forces scrambled to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
A U.S. official said the complex attack outside Kabul airport is “definitely believed” to have been carried out the Islamic group ISIS-K. Members of the U.S. military were wounded in the attack, which involved two suicide bombers and gunmen.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations. The Islamic State group is more radical than the Taliban and has carried out a wave of attacks targeting civilians.
The official says evacuation flights have continued to take off from Kabul airport in the waning days of an airlift to help people flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
The Pentagon confirmed the explosions, which created a bloody, chaotic scene, but did not say who was responsible.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted. “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.”
Fox News reported at least three U.S. Marines are among the injured.
Details are still emerging about the explosions, which the Pentagon announced Thursday morning amid warnings about the threat of an ISIS-K terrorist attack at the airport.
The Biden administration has increasingly warned about the threat of an ISIS-K terrorist attack at the Kabul airport as the Aug. 31 U.S. deadline to withdraw draws near.
1TV, an Afghan news station, published photos of the immediate aftermath of the blast showing people fleeing the scene. Images from reporters inside the airport showed a large dust cloud envelope the side of the airport as an explosion scattered crowds of people.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned U.S. citizens to avoid the after the explosion and reports of gunfire.
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The embassy issued an alert telling U.S. citizens who are at the airport’s three gates to leave immediately. Those that aren’t there should avoid traveling to the airport, the alert said.
The White House said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the explosion.
Contributing: The Associated Press