Afghanistan: ISIS Responsible For Kabul Airport Attack, US Sources Say
A US official says that an ISIS suicide bomber is responsible for the attack at Kabul airport.
Initial reports confirmed an explosion outside of the airport, which was attributed by Sky News to a suicide bombing in a ‘sewage canal’ where people attempting to reach the airport’s Abbey gate for processing had gathered. A second explosion was reported outside the Barron hotel near the airport.
A BBC journalist reported that following the bombing, gunfire could be heard in the area, though it was not clear whether the shooting originated from attackers or military forces. The number of casualties in the attack is unclear.
A US official has since confirmed to Politico that the first attack was carried out by an ISIS suicide bomber.
The Pentagon said that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident, which came just hours after the UK and other countries warned people to avoid the airport following intelligence suggesting that an attack was ‘imminent’.
US intelligence forces had been monitoring threats to the airport from ISIS-K – an ISIS affiliate active in Afghanistan – describing the risk of an attack as ‘acute’ and ‘persistent’.
On Sunday, August 22, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US military and coalition forces were taking the possibility of a terrorist attack targeting the airport ‘deadly seriously’, telling CNN, ‘It is something that we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal.’
‘It is something that we are placing paramount priority on stopping or disrupting, and we will do everything that we can for as long as we are on the ground to keep that from happening,’ he added.
The New York Times reported at the weekend President Biden had been receiving briefings relating to ‘steadily increasing threats’ to the Kabul airport evacuation effort since it began more than a week ago.
Military sources said they were assessing several potential threats, including potential IEDs or suicide bombings.
The Taliban is not allied with ISIS, and has been fighting the terrorist group in Afghanistan in recent years. However, it’s understood that some ISIS-K members may have been inadvertently released from prison as the Taliban broke its own fighters out in recent weeks.
The immediate impact of today’s attack on the evacuation efforts is yet to become clear, however following the explosion helicopters and aircraft could be seen taking off and landing from the airport.
In a statement the UK Ministry of Defence said it was ‘working urgently to establish what has happened in Kabul and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort.’
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]