Pentagon confirms explosion outside Kabul airport, witness says several dead

Published on Aug 26, 2021 07:31 PM IST

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that casualties from the explosion are currently unclear as they wait for additional details.

Western nations warned Thursday of a possible attack on Kabul's airport, where thousands have flocked as they try to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.(AP)
Western nations warned Thursday of a possible attack on Kabul's airport, where thousands have flocked as they try to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.(AP)
By | Written by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi

US department of defense on Thursday confirmed an explosion outside Kabul airport amid reports of a growing threat from the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that casualties from the explosion are currently unclear as they wait for additional details.

"We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can," tweeted Kirby.

US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the explosion outside the Kabul airport, reported CNN quoting White House officials.

An Afghan man said several people appeared to be dead or wounded in the explosion among crowds waiting outside one of the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport, reported Associated Press.

Also Read | Why is Islamic State a threat in Afghanistan despite Taliban rule?

Earlier today, countries like France and the Netherlands announced that they will stop evacuation operations days ahead of the August 31 deadline for a complete withdrawal of US-led foreign troops in the wake of heightened security concerns in Kabul.

Britain had also warned its citizens to stay away from the Kabul airport, urging them to leave Afghanistan by other means if possible. Speaking to Times Radio, UK’s armed forces minister James Heappey called the threat situation at the Hamid Karzai International Airport "very serious" and "imminent".

The United States, however, said it will continue to evacuate as many people as it can until the end of the mission timeline.

"Evacuation operations in Kabul will not be wrapping up in 36 hours. We will continue to evacuate as many people as we can until the end of the mission. #HKIA" Kirby wrote on Twitter.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had denied that any attack was imminent in the wake of those warnings.

According to a UN report, ISIS-Khorasan has strengthened its positions in and around Afghanistan's national capital and has formed sleeper cells in many provinces, including Nuristan, Badghis, Sari Pul, Baghlan, Badakhshan, and Kunduz.

(With inputs from agencies)

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