Explosion outside Kabul airport, Pentagon confirms casualties, number unknown

The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed an explosion outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

Details, including number of casualties, were not immediately available, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a tweet.

The airport is the center of the U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of civilians have been flown out of the country over the past week.

Outside, Afghans, Americans and others are waiting to be processed. Since the evacuation began, Taliban fighters have harassed and assaulted people outside the airport’s gates.

Three security incidents have resulted in the injury of one Marine and the death of an Afghan troop.

Several news agencies reported that the attack happened at the Abbey Gate, located on the southeast side of the airport less than a mile away from the airfield’s main entrance. It’s one of three entrances that U.S. officials warned on Wednesday could be the target of a terrorist attack.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday also warned that U.S. forces and refugees faced “the very real possibility of an ISIS-K attack” at the airport in coming days.

“We’re taking every precaution, but this is very high-risk,” he told reporters.

State Department officials had warned all U.S. citizens at the airport gates to leave “immediately” on Wednesday and await further evacuation instructions.

Despite that, large crowds remained gathered at various points around the airport, hoping to escape the city.

The attack occurred around the same time that President Joe Biden was holding his daily meeting with national security officials on updates on the situation in Afghanistan. White House officials had no immediate comment on the explosion.

This is a developing story. Stay with Military Times for updates.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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