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Afghanistan: Blasts Outside the Kabul Airport

Since the capturing of Kabul, the Taliban has started an exodus of foreign nationals and workers, also Afghans who worked with foreign militaries and groups who are trying to flee to the airport.  On 26th August 2021, two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the crowds of Afghans at Kabul’s airport. There were two explosions outside the Kabul airport. While one blast happened near the airports’ entrance of Abbey Gate, the second one happened near the Baron hotel.  The crowd at the hotel was immense, including Afghans, Britains, and Americans. 

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the ISIS group have taken responsibility for the attack. The group which is additionally referred to as the Islamic State in Khorasan province opposed the Western nations as well as the Taliban. This group is well known in Syria and Iraq who have targeted the Shia Muslim minority in a series of brutal attacks. It is this group that is seeking to establish a new caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The armed group was formed in 2014. Khorasan is a historical region that once included countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

110 people were killed and dozens were wounded. Among them, the majority were civilians and 13 were United States (US) service members. Also, 28 Taliban members were killed in the attack, according to the group that is now ruling Afghanistan. This attack has killed the most US troops in Afghanistan since 30 personnel died when a helicopter was shot down in August 2011. Since February 2020, no American service members have been killed in combat in Afghanistan. 

On 25th August 2021 (Wednesday), a series of warnings emerged from the western capital about the threat from ISIL. Countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand also had advised their nationals not to go to the airport. 

United States President Joe Biden has affirmed to retaliate the attack stating that he will seek out those liable for the attack and make them pay. From the White House on Thursday, Biden confirmed that the bombings were carried out by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), and ISIL’s affiliate in Afghanistan. Biden has added that the US will continue the evacuations of American citizens and US allies despite the attack. “We will not be deterred by terrorists; we’ll not allow them to stop our mission. We will continue the evacuations,” he said.Meanwhile, the Taliban is planning to form a caretaker government in Afghanistan. As per reports, the government will include leaders from ethnic and tribal communities in the country. For now, the duration of the caretaker government is still unclear. Key ministries that are up for the nominations include the judiciary, internal security, defence, foreign affairs, finance, information, and a special assignment for Kabul’s affairs.