KABUL, Afghanistan — Two explosions killed dozens of people, including at least 13 U.S. troops, ripping through the crowds outside Afghanistan’s main airport on Thursday, just hours after Western governments had warned of an imminent Islamic State attack and told their people to stay away from the airport.
The attack, by at least two suicide bombers, struck at the only avenue of escape for the thousands of foreign nationals and tens — or hundreds — of thousands of their Afghan allies who are trying to flee the country following the Taliban takeover and ahead of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, set for next Tuesday.
Afghan health officials gave varying estimates of the toll at the international airport in Kabul, the capital — from at least 30 dead to more than 60, and from 120 wounded to 140 — while a Taliban spokesman cited at least 13 civilians killed and 60 wounded.
For American forces, the attacks were a gruesome coda to almost 20 years of warfare in Afghanistan — one of their heaviest losses, just days before they are set to leave the country. In addition to 13 service members killed, 15 were wounded, the Pentagon said.
“We’re outraged as well as heartbroken,” President Biden said in an address from the White House.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this,” he said to the attackers. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”
Bystanders hoping to find survivors
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