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Pentagon bracing for more attacks after troops killed at Kabul airport

Published: Updated:

American forces in Kabul were bracing for more ISIS attacks while winding up their evacuation mission, US officials said, as the number of US troops killed in Thursday's suicide bomb attack rose to 13.

A US official told Reuters the number of US personnel killed was likely to rise even higher. More than a dozen were wounded.

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The attack marked the first US military casualties in Afghanistan since February 2020 and represented the deadliest incident for American troops in the country in a decade.

At least two explosions tore through crowds that had thronged the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport desperate to leave Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power almost two weeks ago ahead of US President Joe Biden's Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw American troops after two decades.

In a statement, ISIS claimed responsibility and said one of its suicide bombers had targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army.”

Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, head of the US military's Central Command, told a news briefing the explosions were followed by gunfight. McKenzie said the threat from ISIS persists alongside “other active threat streams.”

“We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks and we expect those attacks to continue - and we're doing everything we can to be prepared,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie added that future potential attacks could include rockets being fired at the airport or car bombs attempting to get in. McKenzie said he saw nothing that would convince him that Taliban forces had let the attack take place.

The US military said that in addition to the 13 killed, 18 were injured and in the process of being evacuated on C-17s with surgical units.

US officials said one bomb detonated near the airport's Abbey Gate and the other was close to the nearby Baron Hotel.

Read more:

US President Biden vows to ‘hunt down’ Kabul airport attackers

At least 72 killed in airport attack, 158 wounded: US, Afghan officials

US will retaliate against ISIS for Kabul airport bombings: CENTCOM Chief Mckenzie