On Friday, evacuation flights from Afghanistan started with renewed vigor, a day after two suicide bombers targeted the thousands of people fleeing the Taliban’s rule. More attempted strikes are expected, according to the US, ahead of the deadline for foreign forces to withdraw on Tuesday, bringing America’s longest war to a conclusion.
Several flights got off from Kabul on Friday morning, according to residents, and footage supplied by a local Tolo TV correspondent showed the nervous crowd outside the airport as large as ever.
According to Afghan and US sources, Thursday’s blasts near Kabul’s international airport killed at least 95 Afghans and 13 US troops, making it the bloodiest day for US forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.
According to an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, the true toll could be higher because other persons may have carried bodies away from the scene.
President Joe Biden accused the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, Islamic State-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, which is more extremist than the Taliban fighters who took power less than two weeks ago, in an impassioned speech.
“We’ll save the Americans, get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will continue,” Biden added. Despite mounting pressure to extend the deadline to Tuesday, he has cited the fear of assaults as a justification to stick to his guns.
The Taliban, who have retaken control of Afghanistan two decades after being ousted in a US-led assault in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, are adamant about meeting the deadline.
In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement with the Taliban, which called for the Taliban to stop attacking Americans in exchange for the evacuation of all US troops and contractors by May; Biden indicated in April that he would have them out by September.
While the United States said on Thursday that more than 100,000 individuals have been successfully evacuated from Kabul, up to 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands more Afghans are still attempting to flee in one of the world’s largest airlifts.
On Thursday, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the US Central Command commander in charge of the evacuation, estimated roughly 5,000 people were waiting for flights at the airfield.