Daily US Times: US troops helping to evacuate Americans and Afghans desperate to leave the country braced for more attacks on Friday after an IS suicide bomber killed scores of civilians and 13 US troops outside the gates of Kabul airport.
Health officials in Kabul were quoted as saying 60 Afghan civilians and 13 US troops were killed in Thursday’s attacks. At least two blasts and gunfire stormed the area. Video taken by Afghan journalists and later shared on social media showed dozens of bodies strewn around a canal on the edge of the Kabul airport.
Islamic State (ISIS), an enemy of the Western countries as well as the Taliban, said one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army”. US officials also blamed the militant group and vowed retribution.
The head of US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, said US commanders were on alert for more attacks by the IS, including possibly rockets or vehicle-borne bombs targeting the airport.
He said: “We’re doing everything we can to be prepared,” adding that some intelligence was being shared with the Taliban and that he believed “some attacks have been thwarted by them.”
US forces are racing to complete their evacuation from Afghanistan by an August 31 deadline set by President Biden, who says the US had long ago achieved its original rationale for invading the country in 2001: to destroy al Qaeda militants and prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the US.
Biden said he had ordered the US military commands to plan how to strike ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that claimed responsibility.
The US president said: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Video taken in the aftermath of the suicide attack showed corpses in a sewage canal by the airport fence, some being fished out and laid in heaps while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.