News & Politics

Kabul Airport Under Terror Attack, Reported Suicide Bombing

(Twitter Ali Hassani)

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: A second explosion has been reported at the Baron Hotel, where many Americans are being housed.

UPDATE 10: 45 a.m.: Fox News reports that at least three U.S. troops have been injured in the attack at the Abbey Gate. Jennifer Griffin reports that this is a “complex attack” including both explosives and a gunfight.

Numerous news outlets are reporting that there has been an explosion outside the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reports indicate it may be a mix of a suiciding bomb and improvised explosive device (IED) attack.

The threat of terrorist attacks at the besieged airport has been all too real since Kabul fell to the Taliban last weekend. The U.S. State Department issued a warning late Wednesday telling Americans not to travel to the airport unless they had been specifically instructed to do so by government personnel. The Taliban, ISIS-K, and al-Qaeda are all known to be in the area. The State Department’s warnings have centered on the threats from ISIS-K.

The Taliban has issued mixed messages and has reportedly blocked and beaten some Americans and Afghans who were en route to the airport, which is the only way out of Afghanistan.

Fox News is now reporting that a gunfight has erupted outside the airport. As many as 5,000 people may be standing outside that gate in the desperate crush to leave the country after Joe Biden’s hasty retreat, in which he decided to close Bagram Air Base and pull the military out before making sure all civilians had departed. Closing Bagram closed two runways and leaves the U.S. military without an effective base of operations other than the surrounded airport.

The United States withdrew its 2,500 troops to meet Biden’s conditions but has since deployed about 6,000 to 7,000 more troops in response to the need to secure HKIA after the Taliban captured Kabul and declared control of Afghanistan.

An unknown number of Americans remain in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken seemed to suggest that fewer than 1,000 remain during his press briefing Wednesday, but two U.S. congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, secretly traveled to Kabul this week and say the number is likely much higher, and that getting them all out by Biden’s August 31 deadline — or even the 20th anniversary of 9-11 — is impossible.

Update: Reports from the ground are beginning to come in.