At least 60 people, including 12 US soldiers, were killed and dozens were injured in two back-to-back explosions outside the Kabul airport on Thursday. Two more explosions were also reported in central Kabul hours later.
General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, confirmed the news at a briefing, CNN reports.
“At this time, we know that 12 US service members have been killed in the attack and 15 more service members have been injured,” Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, commander of the US Central Command, said on Thursday.
“Let me be clear, while we’re saddened by the loss of life, both US and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission,” McKenzie told a media conference at the Pentagon.
“Our mission is to evacuate US citizens or third-country nationals, especially immigrant visa holders, US embassy staff, and Afghans at risk,” McKenzie added.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts outside Kabul airport. The group also released a picture of a suicide bomber that struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport.
Taliban has also condemned the attack, however, blamed the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan for Kabul blasts. Speaking to a Turkish TV channel, a Taliban official said the presence of foreign forces in the country was to blame for the Kabul blasts on Thursday.
The UK Ministry of Defence, however, said UK soldiers didn’t experience any casualties.
The UK MOD said in a statement: ‘We are working urgently to establish what has happened in Kabul and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort.
“Our primary concern remains the safety of our personnel, British citizens, and the citizens of Afghanistan. We are in close contact with our US and other NATO allies at an operational level on the immediate response to this incident.”