(Kabul) The number of suicide bombings by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group at Kabul airport rose to 85 on Friday in a tense atmosphere a few days before the planned end of the evacuation of foreigners, including thirteen American soldiers and Afghans who were in front of the new one Want to flee the Taliban regime.
Posted on Aug 25, 2021 at 8:20 am Updated Aug 27, 2021 at 6:31 am
David FOX Agence France-Presse
The attack, carried out at dusk on Thursday, sowed chaos and devastation among the thousands of Afghans who had gathered there in hopes of boarding one of the planes chartered from the west.
Videos posted on social networks showed dozens of victims, dead or injured, lying in the brackish water of a sewer, surrounded by overwhelmed and helpless rescuers. Men, women and children ran in all directions to get away from the site of the explosion.
“There are many women and children among the victims. Most people are shocked, traumatized, ”an official from the former government, overthrown by the Taliban in mid-August, told AFP on Friday, announcing the new death toll of at least 72 and 150 injured, according to information from local hospitals.
The previous report by the Taliban regime on Thursday evening reported 13 to 20 dead and 52 injured.
The situation in Kabul appeared calm on Friday morning, especially around the airport, where the Taliban had reinforced their checkpoints and the crowd in places appeared to have disappeared.
The double explosion also killed at least thirteen US soldiers and injured eighteen others, according to the Pentagon, making it the deadliest attack on the US military in Afghanistan since 2011.
In the face of the worst crisis since the beginning of his term of office and visibly shaken, US President Joe Biden reacted by promising to “hunt down” and “pay” the perpetrators of the attack. “America is not intimidated,” he said in a martial tone.
This first murderous attack since the Taliban came to power on August 15 takes place a few days before the withdrawal of American troops from the country, which is planned for August 31 after twenty years of fruitless war against the Islamists.
With tears in his eyes, Mr. Biden paid tribute to the killed soldiers, “heroes”. […] engaged in a dangerous and altruistic mission to save other lives, ”and he implied that the United States“ would continue the evacuation ”.
According to Washington, which expects ISIS attacks to “continue,” the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers from the jihadist group, followed by a shooting.
Under the name IS-K (Islamic State Khorasan Province), IS has taken responsibility for some of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, in which hundreds, mostly Shiite Muslims, have been killed.
Although they are two radical Sunni groups, ISIS and the Taliban are in competition and are animated by a persistent and mutual hatred.
The West condemned the attack, stressing that it should not prevent the continuation of the mass evacuations, which so far have allowed 100,100 people to leave the White House on Thursday evening, according to the latest data.
The new Taliban regime, through its spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, condemned these “bomb attacks” in the strongest possible terms, but stressed that they took place in an area under the responsibility of the American army.
Since the Taliban suddenly seized power in Kabul, Kabul’s huge airport has been the last place in the country where Western troops under the leadership of the US military have gathered.
Despite everything, NATO and the European Union have called for further evacuations from Kabul.
Spain announced on Friday morning that it had completed its evacuation flights, as did Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia before. The British will be finished “in a few hours”, announced London on Friday morning.
After the explosions, Paris announced the return of its ambassador to Afghanistan, David Martinon, who had previously been at Kabul airport, to France for security reasons.
According to military sources, one of the explosions occurred near Abbey Gate, one of three access points to the airport.
“It was a huge explosion in the midst of the crowd waiting outside one of the airport gates,” where people who are evacuated by Westerners, a witness at the crime scene, enter, Milad told AFP. Body and Human Fragments “projected into the environment.
In the confusion, he says he lost the documents he hoped to board a plane with his wife and three children.
“I never want to go (to the airport) again. Death to America, its evacuation and its visas, ”he said.
The injured “could not speak, many were afraid, their eyes lost in the vague, their empty stare,” said Alberto Zanin, the medical coordinator of the hospital of the Italian NGO Emergency, on Twitter.
The pace of evacuations, which had continued to accelerate in recent days, began to slow down on Wednesday.
The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken had assured on Wednesday that the Taliban had committed themselves to the endangered Americans and Afghans after December 31.
The imminent end of the evacuations raises fears that many Afghans who have worked with foreigners or the ousted pro-Western government in recent years and feel threatened by the Taliban will not all leave the country in time.
Many Afghans, often urban and educated, fear that the Islamists will only introduce the same kind of fundamentalist and brutal regime between 1996 and 2001.