Update (8/26/2021, 2:54 p.m.): Fox News is reporting officials have told the outlet that at least 13 U.S. service members have died as result of possible terrorist attacks around the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Update (8/26/2021, 1:28 p.m.): Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby released a statement Thursday afternoon announcing that "a number of U.S. service members were killed" in the "complex attacks" in Kabul.
The statement reads as follows:
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.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.
Original Story: The situation in Kabul, Afghanistan — for Afghanis and Americans alike — seems to be becoming desperate.
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed reports coming out of Kabul that a “complex attack” on Abbey Gate outside Hamid Karzai International Airport has “resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties.”
We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
Kirby’s tweet came after the Associated Press (AP) reported that Russian officials are saying that “two suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport Thursday.”
At least 13 people are believed to have been killed, with another 15 wounded, according to said Russian officials. That number could climb as reports come in.
The AP reported:
Even as the area was hit, the [U.S.] official [speaking on the condition of anonymity] said evacuation flights continued to take off from Kabul airport, which Western governments earlier warned was a target.
One explosion went off in a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport, according to Adam Khan, an Afghan waiting nearby. He said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who lost body parts.
Several countries urged people to avoid the airport earlier in the day, with one saying 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.
The explosion at Abbey Gate was the second of two, with the other reportedly occurring outside the Barons Hotel in Kabul, according to Sky News foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes.
BREAKING: UK defence source confirms there were two explosions outside Kabul airport. One explosion occurred by Barons Hotel, followed by small arms fire, then a second explosion occurred by Abbey Gate. No UK military casualties, according to initial assessment— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) August 26, 2021
This is a fluid situation and will be updated as needed.