Kabul, Aug 27 : A blast rocked the Kabul airport, which is thronged by crowds of desperate Afghans seeking to flee the country after the Taliban takeover, on Thursday, causing numerous casualties, including US personnel.
There was also a blast at a nearby hotel, causing more casualties.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US and civilian casualties. 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,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a tweet.
A Taliban leader said that at least 72 people, including women and children, were killed, and a number of Taliban guards got injured in the blast.
The airport blast was said to have taken place outside one of its gates where British and US troops are stationed to oversee the evacuation process. It is suspected to be a suicide attack.
Evacuated Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary said in a tweet that the blast took place at a sewage canal where Afghans were vetted.
“A suicide attacker blew himself up in the middle of a large crowd. At least another attacker started shooting, multiple eye witnesses in the area & a friend tell me,” he said.
There was no report about any British casualties, the BBC quoted a UK Defence Ministry source as saying.
British Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, a member of the foreign affairs and national security strategy committees, said that “many were hurt” in an attack near the Baron Hotel, where the UK is processing Britons and Afghans eligible for evacuation.
“A bomb or attack with gunfire at northern gate of Baron’s Hotel. Worried this will devastate evacuation – so many hurt. My heart is with all those injured and killed,” she said in a tweet.
The attacks came amid warnings by the western nations of a terror strike at the airport as evacuation of foreign citizens continues.
In a response, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the situation has “profoundly deteriorated” in Afghanistan.
He called for caution before the situation descended into one “that we can’t control” and added that the situation around the airport remains very dangerous.