The Pentagon said Thursday that a large explosion occurred outside the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, as the U.S.-led airlift of thousands continued inside the compound.
“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can,” said Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby. U.S. official said the blast was caused by suicide bombing, according to Reuters.
Earlier on Thursday Western nations had warned of a possible attack on Kabul’s airport in the waning days of the massive evacuation efforts. Several countries urged people to avoid the airport, where an official said there was a threat of a suicide bombing. But just days – or even hours for some nations – before the evacuation effort ends, few appeared to heed the call.
Over the last week, the airport has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban’s takeover, as flight after flight took off carrying those who fear a return to the militants’ brutal rule.
Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the beginning of the end of one of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban have so far honored a pledge not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but insist the foreign troops must be out by America’s self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31