More than a dozen U.S. service members were reported dead following a series of bombings at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan on Thursday morning.
The Blaze said at least 12 American service members and at least 60 Afghans were killed on top of hundreds hurt from two large explosions suspected to be made by ISIS terrorists. While The Christian Post said the attacks were coordinated, with the first explosion carried out by a suicide bomber near the airport's Abbey Gate and the second one a car bomb near Baron Hotel, which is adjacent to Abbey Gate.
The first explosion left one Navy Corpsman and 11 Marines dead along with 15 soldiers wounded. The location of the second explosion, on the other hand, was strategic since it is where Afghans are processed by British troops before they board their flight for evacuation.
In addition, the Baron Hotel is said to be where 169 U.S. citizens had been rescued days earlier when they were not able to go past the Taliban checkpoints and the crowds.
In a series of posts in Twitter, Department of Defense Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed the incidents, initially reporting that the number of "casualties are unclear" but "will provide additional details when" it is available. Kirby also confirmed the location of the first "explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport" before he confirmed the "other explosion." Kirby after three hours released his official statement on the matter.
"We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today;s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack," Kirby announced.
"Our thoughts and prayers go to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured," he added.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III also released a statement on the matter identifying "terrorists" as the perpetrators of the attack. Austin expressed his condolences to those who were affected and revealed that the attack will not prevent them from continuing their efforts to evacuate those in Afghanistan.
"On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today. Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others. We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief," Austin said.
"But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand. To do anything less--especially now--would dishonor the purpose and sacrifice these men and women have rendered our country and the people of Afghanistan," he stressed.
The Department of Defense followed suit in releasing official information on the matter through a press briefing held at the Pentagon later that day. This was immediately supported by a news item posted on their website that echoes information on the specifics of the incident and what transpired during the press briefing. As per the Department of Defense, there were two suicide bombers who "detonated" themselves that lead to the explosions.
"A dozen American service members were killed, 15 more were injured and a number of Afghan civilians were also killed or injured during attacks this morning in Afghanistan. The attacks involved an explosive set off by a suicide bomber near the Abbey Gate entrance to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Nearby, another suicide bomber set off an explosive at the Baron Hotel. Those attacks were followed by gunfire from ISIS gunmen," the Department of Defense announced.
U.S. Central Command Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. echoed the statement of Austin, stating that the evacuation "will continue undeterred." McKenzie revealed there are 5,000 individuals pending evacuation in Afghanistan. He reported that from August 14, they have already evacuated 104,000 civilians, which includes 5,000 Americans. He said there are 1,000 Americans remaining in Afghanistan.
McKenzie highlighted the "tactical threats" to their evacuation program that include "larger suicide bomb attacks similar to the ones this morning" and "rocket attacks." He revealed that the "U.S. military" are now working with the Taliban who is "doing security outside the airport" as a means for them to "help mitigate some of the threats." He pointed out that the exact and clear identity of the perpetrators is not 100% certain but they are doing everything to determine it.
"If we can find who's associated with this, we will go after them. We've been clear all along that we're going to retain the right to operate against ISIS in Afghanistan, and we are working very hard right now to determine attribution to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack, and we're prepared to take action against them. 24/7, we are looking for them," McKenzie stressed.