90 Afghans, 13 U.S. Troops Killed In Kabul Attack

Two bombs exploded at Kabul airport in Afghanistan, targeting people desperate to flee the country after the Taliban takeover.

The Ministry of Health says more than 90 people were killed, with civilians and 13 U.S. military personnel among the dead.

Hours earlier, Western governments had warned their citizens to stay away from the airport, because of an imminent threat of an attack by IS-K, the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State group.

The apparent suicide vest attack occurred at the Abbey Gate to the airport where US forces were screening Afghan civilians for admission to the airport.

The US said “ISIS gunmen” also had opened fire on the crowds and US forces after the bomb detonated.

The 13th fatality was confirmed by the Pentagon late on Thursday. Reports suggest that 18 more were injured.

It is believed to be the most US troops killed in Afghanistan in a single incident since 30 personnel died when a helicopter was shot down in August 2011. Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement:

A thirteenth US service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate.

Despite the attack, Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, commander of the US Central Command, said that the US is “continuing to execute the mission,” to evacuate US citizens and as many Afghans, who have documents to leave the country. Said McKenzie:

Our mission is to evacuate US citizens or third-country nationals, especially immigrant visa holders, US embassy staff and Afghans at risk.

The US presently has 5 800 troops at the airport in Kabul working to evacuate thousands of US citizens, Afghans and others.

The Taliban which took over power earlier this month gave the U.S and its Western allies until the end of the month to evacuate all their troops from Afghanistan.

The U.S., the U.K. and other Western powers had started evacuating their troops and citizens after a two-decade war with the Islamist militant group.

Upon seizing power, the Taliban pledged to uphold human rights amid scepticism by many who remember the Taliban of the 1990s.

Many Afghans have fled from the country as they feared the new government would seek vengeance on those who supported the American-backed government.

More: BBC News; Al Jazeera

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