Twin explosions leave Kabul shaken
- The attacks hit ahead of an August 31 deadline for US troops to leave the airport on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, and as allied militaries wind down their rescue operations.
The international community reacted with alarm after deadly terror attacks rocked the airport in the Afghan capital, with the UN condemning the day’s developments and the Nato insisting that evacuation efforts in Kabul shouldn’t be halted.
“This incident underscores the volatility of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, but also strengthens our resolve as we continue to deliver urgent assistance across the country in support of the Afghan people,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
In Brussels, Nato secretarygeneral Jens Stoltenberg said allied forces should continue to evacuate as many vulnerable people as they can from Kabul despite what he branded a “horrific terrorist attack”.
“Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible,” he tweeted after two deadly explosions hit crowds on the perimeter of the airport in Afghanistan’s capital.
The attacks hit ahead of an August 31 deadline for US troops to leave the airport on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, and as allied militaries wind down their rescue operations.
Belgium and the Netherlands have already halted their airlift from the airport and other allied countries are to follow suit in the coming hours and days, despite fears that at-risk people will be left behind.
Taliban group ‘strongly condemns’ attacks
The Taliban have condemned the attacks outside Kabul’s airport, saying they occurred in an area controlled by US forces. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group “strongly condemns” Thursday’s strikes and is paying close attention to security. The attack was believed to be carried out by Afghanistan’s Islamic State group affiliate, which is separate from and more radical than the Taliban.
Instability feeding terrorism, rues EU
European Council president Charles Michel said he was very concerned about a blast outside the Kabul airport, warning that instability in Afghanistan must not benefit terrorism. “Securing safe passage to the airport remains vital,” said Michel, the chairman of the 27 national leaders of all the member countries of the European Union.
“We need to ensure the current instability cannot give rise to a resurgence of terrorism.”
The deadly attacks came hours after western nations warned earlier on Thursday of a possible terror attack on Kabul’s airport, where thousands have flocked as they try to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the closing stages of a massive international airlift. Britain had clearly warned an attack could happen within hours.