New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the reports of a massive explosion outside the Kabul Airport, a second explosion rocked Afghanistan's capital on Thursday further escalating the tensions in the war-torn country, which was seized by an Islamist militant group, the Taliban, on August 15.

While the first explosion, which was suspected to be a suicide bombing attack, took place near the Abbey gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, the second blast, as reported by Reuters, took place close to the nearby Baron Hotel where US citizens were gathering to be evacuated.

According to a Taliban official, as quoted by Reuters, at least 13 people including children and some U.S. service members were killed while scores of people including the Taliban guards were injured. A U.S. official told Reuters as many as three U.S. service members were among those hurt, and that U.S. casualty numbers were expected to increase.

Soon after the first explosion at Kabul airport, France Ambassador to Afghanistan had warned of a second possible explosion at the airport. "To all our Afghan friends: If you are near the airport gates, getaway urgently and take shelter. A second explosion is possible," tweeted French envoy David Martinon.

Earlier, Pentagon had confirmed reports of the first explosion outside from outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday. "We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can," said John Kirby, Assistant to the US Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

According to a local reporter, a suicide attacker blew himself up in the middle of a large crowd and another attacker started shooting. "AFG Explosion took place outside of the eastern gate of airport and gunfire is underway. There are casualties and fatalities, multiple eyewitnesses tell me," Afghan reporter Bilal Sarwary tweeted.

The explosion came after the United States and its allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by Islamic State. A massive airlift of foreign nationals and their families, as well as some Afghans, has been under way since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on Aug. 15, capping a swift advance across the country as U.S. and allied troops withdrew.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the explosion, according to a White House official. Biden was in a meeting with security officials about the situation in Afghanistan, where the United States is in the final steps of ending its 20-year war when the explosion was first reported.

 

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan