US on alert for more attacks in Kabul after 13 US service members, 90 civilians killed

Head of US Central Command General Frank McKenzie said that more attacks by the Islamic State could be imminent, and may be in the form or car bombs or rockets.


The death toll in Afghanistan has risen to more than 100 fatalities a day after two suicide bombings terrorized Kabul's international airport. The US is continuing evacuations despite concerns over further attacks.

Head of US Central Command General Frank McKenzie said that more attacks by the Islamic State could be imminent, and may be in the form or car bombs or rockets.

"McKenzie said "We're doing everything we can to be prepared." He also said, according to Reuters, that some US intelligence was being shared with Taliban officials, and that he believes that "some attacks have been thwarted" by the Taliban.

Around 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands more Afghans are struggling to leave in one of history's largest airlifts, Fox News reported. Gen. McKenzie told reporters on Thursday that approximately 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield.

Thursday's bombings killed at least 13 US service members and 90 Afghans in what's considered the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011. These attacks came just five days before the Biden administration's sought-after deadline for complete US military withdrawal from the Taliban-controlled country.

The two explosions ripped through escaping crowds attempting to enter the facility in the US-led evacuation effort. A suicide bomb attack at the airport's Abbey Gate was followed by an assault by Islamic State gunmen, The Wall Street Journal reported. Another bomb attack took place nearby at a hotel outside the airport.

Defense Department officials said late Thursday that the fatality count for the US troops include 10 Marines, two Army soldiers, and one Navy corpsman killed.

President Joe Biden told the American people on August 20 that "our mission will go on" and promised to bring home the remaining Americans and the nation's Afghan allies. However, thousands still remain in the country trying to escape the Taliban's grip that took over in the absence of American forces.

US officials attributed the violence to Islamic State's regional offshoot. Islamic State claimed responsibility in a report posted by its Amaq news agency.

Earlier this week, Biden was reportedly informed by US military advisers that he must decide by Tuesday whether to keep the nearly 6,000 US troops in Kabul aiding evacuations past the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline. Biden was still deciding on Monday whether or not to extend the deadline, and on Tuesday said he had decided against it.

Citing security risks as the deadline loomed closer, several of Biden's advisors had made recommendations against the extension. Speaking with the press back on Sunday, Biden said that he would consider the extension. The Taliban had made it known that there "would be consequences" if the United States stayed past the end of the month.

As the end of the month deadline approaches, Western nations are racing to complete the Afghan evacuation with no sign that the country's new Taliban rulers might allow an extension. The United States and its allies have evacuated more than 70,000 individuals, including citizens, NATO personnel, and at-risk Afghans since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban swept into the capital Kabul to solidify control and bring about an end to the decades-long foreign military presence.

The US-backed government collapsed as America and its allies withdrew troops 20 years after the Taliban was ousted in the weeks following the horrific Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants, whose leaders had since found refuge in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Aid agencies warned of an impending humanitarian crisis for the population left behind facing mounting danger. United Nations World Food Programme executive director David Beasley called the escalating situation "a perfect storm" brewing due to several years of drought, conflict, and economic deterioration, compounded by COVID-19.

Beasley told Reuters that he's calling for the international community to donate $200 million in food aid as the overwhelming number of people marching towards starvation has spiked to now 14 million.

The European Union said it was planning to quadruple aid and was seeking coordination with the United Nations on delivery as well as safety guarantees on the ground. According to the outlet, a NATO country diplomat in Kabul urged the neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan to open their borders and allow entrants access through vital air or land routes.


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