ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul airport attacks

US troops
US Marines and Norwegian coalition forces assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint ensuring evacuees are processed safely during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Reuters

Dubai: Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Kabul airport.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport on Thursday, killing at least 60 Afghans and 12 US troops, Afghan and US officials said.

The IS branch, known as The Islamic State-Khorasan Province after a name for the region from antiquity, said in its claim of responsibility that it targeted American troops and their Afghan allies.

The statement carried a photo of what the militant group said was the bomber who carried out the attack. The image shows the alleged attacker standing with the explosive belt in front of the black IS flag with a black cloth covering his face, only his eyes showing.

The statement made no mention of a second suicide bomber or gunmen. The claim could not be independently verified.

IS also said the bomber managed to get past Taliban security checkpoints to come within 5 metres (yards) of a gathering of US soldiers, translators and collaborators before detonating his explosives. It said the Taliban were also among the casualties. The extremist IS group has battled the Taliban, which it views as traitorous for agreeing to a peace deal with the United States.

The statement also said the bomber got around US security measures and that the camp that was targeted was where US forces were gathering paperwork for those who've worked with the military.

NATO chief slams Kabul airport terrorist attack

The Hague: NATO chief has condemned the twin suicide bombings at the Kabul airport as a horrific terrorist attack" that targeted desperate Afghans trying to leave the country and the alliance's efforts to evacuate them from Afghanistan. 

Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter after the explosions on Thursday: I strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack outside #Kabul airport. My thoughts are with all those affected and their loved ones. Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible.

The bombings struck outside Kabul's airport, where large crowds of people trying to flee Afghanistan have massed, killing at least 13 people and wounding 15, according to Russian officials. Western nations had warned earlier in the day of a possible attack at the airport in the waning days of a massive airlift.

UN chief Antonio Guterres condemns attack

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday condemned the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport and said the incident "underscores the volatility" of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and "strengthens our resolve as the world body continues to deliver urgent assistance across the country in support of the Afghan people.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport on Thursday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 15 others, according to reports.

"The Secretary General is following with great concern the ongoing situation in Kabul and especially at the airport. He condemns this terrorist attack which killed and injured a number of civilians and extends his deep condolences to the families of those killed. He stands in solidarity and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured, spokesperson for the Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing.

"This incident underscores the volatility of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan but also strengthens our resolve as we continue to deliver urgent assistance across the country in support of the Afghan people, he said.

Responding to questions on the situation in Afghanistan, Dujarric said the UN is conducting headcount of the casualties and those injured and added that as far as we know at this moment, there is no casualties of UN staff. 

"I think we did have a few number of staff around the airport, but they're all reported safe and sound, he said.

Dujarric said the UN has not at this point "counted ourselves the number of killed and wounded. We're basing our information on what we're getting from local sources and other places."

He said there is no information about perpetrators of the attack, "but clearly, anyone who would intentionally commit such a crime of targeting civilians in a crowd where there are desperate people, there are children, is just heinous and horrendous, to say the least."

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