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Pentagon confirms multiple casualties after explosion hits outside Kabul airport

Published: Updated:

An explosion outside the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan’s capital resulted in multiple deaths, the US Pentagon’s Press Secretary John Kirby said on Thursday.

“We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update,” he added in another tweet.

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Graphic videos from the scene showed multiple bodies piled up on top of one another where hundreds of people who had hoped to get on evacuation flights out of the country had been standing earlier.

Initial reports indicate that the blast was the result of a suicide bombing, Al Arabiya reported.

Pictures and videos circulating online from the scene also showed several people covered in blood around the airport premises, while ambulances rushed to tend to the injured.

A US official told Reuters the blast resulted in multiple casualties, but it was yet to be determined how many people had died or what their nationalities were. Up to three US troops were injured in the attack, the official said.

The US and its allies had earlier on Thursday warned their citizens and Afghan civilians that the airport was under threat of an ISIS terrorist attack.

The news came as Western countries hurried to wrap up the evacuation of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who had helped the US and allied forces during the 20-year war against the Taliban ahead of the August 31 withdrawal deadline.

While Western troops inside the airport rapidly worked to keep the evacuation moving as fast as possible, Taliban fighters said they would be guarding the perimeter outside where thousands of people had thronged daily since the extremist group took control of the country on August 15, hoping to get on the flights.

Read more:

Kabul airport ‘incredibly crowded’ despite looming ISIS threat: Official

Taliban guards will continue to protect civilians outside Kabul airport: Official

Very credible threat of imminent Kabul airport attack: UK armed forces minister