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Survivors describe pandemonium, bloodshed as Kabul bombers unleashed carnage

8 10 1
27.08.2021

Adam Khan was waiting near the Abbey Gate of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport when he saw an explosion near the crowded entrance. Several people appeared to have been killed or wounded in the blast, including some who were maimed, he recalled.

Warning: Graphic content throughout

Another man named Milad described what he called “total panic,” following the explosion.

“The Taliban then started firing in the air to disperse the crowd,” he said. “I saw a man rushing with an injured baby in his hands.”

Within minutes, another explosion would rock the area, and an already chaotic scene would be transformed into a bloodbath.

Eyewitness accounts and graphic footage have laid bare the death and destruction visited upon Kabul’s airport Thursday, showing how attackers apparently affiliated with the Islamic State blew up Afghan civilians desperately trying to find a way out of the country and US troops guarding an already precarious evacuation from Taliban rule.

The number of dead was unknown as of Friday morning, but Afghan officials speaking on condition of anonymity have put the civilian toll at 60 people or more, with over 100 injured. US military officials said 13 troops were killed, including 10 Marines, and another 18 servicemembers were wounded.

The Italian NGO Emergency said the hospital it operates in Kabul had been overwhelmed by a “massive influx” of more than 60 casualties, 16 of whom were pronounced dead on arrival.

The attack was the deadliest on American troops since 2011, and a reminder of dangers faced by Afghans who remain in the country after the US completes its withdrawal at the end of the month, bringing a 20-year democracy-building experiment to a close.

Hours before the attack, the US government and its allies had raised the alarm with a series of advisories warning their citizens to avoid the airport. The US Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately due to an unspecified security threat.

The acting US ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, later sharpened the warning, saying the security threat at the Kabul airport overnight was “clearly regarded as credible, as imminent, as compelling.” In an interview with ABC News, he would not give details.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any attack was imminent at the airport, where the group’s fighters have deployed and occasionally used heavy-handed tactics to control the crowds.

As crowds surged at one of the airport gates where thousands have gathered to find a way onto a plane out of the country, the Taliban sprayed a water cannon to try to push people away. Elsewhere along the fortified perimeter someone launched tear gas canisters elsewhere.

A video apparently taken about an hour before the attack showed masses fleeing gunfire,........

© The Times of Israel


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