UPDATE: The U.S. military reports that an additional American soldier has died, bringing the total to 13.
UPDATE: Bloomberg reports that the death toll for U.S. service members has risen to 11 Marines and one Navy Medic.
Two suicide bombers and multiple gunmen near the airport in Kabul killed over a dozen people, including ten U.S. Marines and soldiers, and injured dozens according to preliminary reports, just hours after Americans were warned to stay away and western countries were struggling to get people safely out of the country.
One U.S. official described the attack as “complex” and said it was “definitely believed” to have been carried out by the Islamic State group (ISIS).
One explosion was reported at the airport entrance while another took place at a nearby hotel.
The Pentagon confirmed that “several U.S. service members have been killed” in the attack.
Witnesses say the death toll could go up to as much as 40 people, with some of the dead being reported to be children.
The terrorist attack at the Kabul airport comes just hours after Americans were warned to stay away from the location due to an imminent threat.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported that as many as 1,500 Americans are still waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan.
The US Embassy in Kabul sent out an alert early Thursday telling Americans not to travel to the airport.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative to do so,” a statement read.
The terrorist attack took place just one week after President Biden, in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, commented on what the interviewer described as “a lotta pandemonium outside the airport.”
“But, look, … but no one’s being killed right now, God forgive me if I’m wrong about that, but no one’s being killed right now.”
He knocked on wood while making the statement.
Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich is reporting that the risk of an attack at the hands of a new ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-K, is still present.
“Source briefed on the situation in Kabul tells me “hundreds of ISIS-K in the vicinity, attacks likely to continue,” she tweeted.
Despite the growing threat by ISIS prior to the attack, Ross Wilson, the Acting US Ambassador in Afghanistan, claimed in an interview Thursday morning that it was still “relatively safe” to go to the airport.
“There are safe ways to get here, there are safe ways – relatively safe ways to access the airport, and we’re doing everything we can to facilitate that,” Wilson said.
He went on to say that any Americans who didn’t get to the airport before the August 31 deadline only had themselves to blame.
“People chose not to leave – that’s their business, that’s their right. We regret now that many may find themselves in a position that they would rather not be in,” he said.
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