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Scores killed as suicide bomb explodes outside Kabul airport

13 people were killed, including children and US soldiers, in a double explosion in the vicinity of Hamid Karzai Airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, August 26 2021 [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency]
13 people were killed, including children and US soldiers, in a double explosion in the vicinity of Hamid Karzai Airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, August 26 2021 [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency]

A suspected suicide bomb exploded outside Kabul airport today, killing at least 13 people including children, a Taliban official said, after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by Daesh, Reuters reported.

The official said many Taliban guards were wounded.

A US official said American service members were among the wounded, adding he was citing an initial report and cautioning that it could change. He said there were casualties but did not know how many or of what nationality.

Thousands of people have been gathering outside the airport in recent days. Western troops are racing to evacuate foreigners and Afghans who helped Western countries during the 20-year war against the Taliban, and to get out by a 31 August deadline.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said there had been an explosion and it was unclear if there were any casualties. A Western diplomat in Kabul earlier said areas outside the airport gates were "incredibly crowded" again despite the warnings of a potential attack.

Whether it's Afghanistan or Palestine occupations don't last forever

There were few details yet of the attack, but Western countries have been warning of a potential attack by Daesh.

The Taliban, whose fighters are guarding the perimeter outside the airport, are enemies of the local elements of Daesh, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), after an old name for the region.

"Our guards are also risking their lives at Kabul airport, they face a threat too from the Islamic State group," said a Taliban official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and before the reports of the explosion.

US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the explosion, according to a White House official. Biden was in a meeting with security officials about the situation in Afghanistan when the explosion was first reported, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The concerns about an attack came against a chaotic backdrop in Kabul, where the massive airlift of foreign nationals and their families as well as some Afghans has been underway since the day before the Taliban captured the city on 15 August, capping a lightning advance across the country as U.S. and allied troops withdrew.

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