Thirteen U.S. military service members were killed and 18 more were wounded in explosions outside the Kabul airport Thursday, U.S. defense officials said.
“I can confirm that subsequent to Gen. McKenzie’s remarks, a thirteenth U.S. service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement Thursday evening.
“The latest number of injured is now 18, all of whom are in the process of being aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan on specially equipped C-17s with embarked surgical units,” he continued. “We continue to provide the best possible medical care to those injured.”
Two explosions ripped through the crowds outside the airport earlier Thursday where the U.S. and allies have been conducting a major evacuation operation. An ISIS affiliate is reportedly responsible for the deadly attacks.
Afghan health officials estimated that there have been at least 30-40 confirmed fatalities as a result of the attacks, The New York Times reported. The officials spoke anonymously because the Taliban, which said 13 had been killed, told them not to speak to the press. (RELATED: Hundreds Of ISIS-K Militants Surround Kabul Airport, More Attacks Expected: REPORT)
On behalf of the men and women of the @deptofdefense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/GqwuJBKAAF
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 26, 2021
“It’s a hard day today,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the CENTCOM commander, told reporters during an afternoon press briefing. “Two suicide bombers assessed to have been ISIS fighters detonated in the vicinity of the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and in the vicinity of the Baron hotel, which is immediately adjacent.”
“The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunmen who opened fire on civilians and military forces,” he said.
“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,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others.”
Ross Wilson, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, informed American embassy staff that four Marines had been killed earlier in the day, an official with knowledge of the briefing told the Wall Street Journal. Officials later updated the figure, saying 10 U.S. service members had been killed in the blast, according to Fox News.
Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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