Taliban bomb Kabul airport, Americans, others feared dead

An explosion went off on Thursday outside the Kabul airport, where thousands of people have gathered to try to flee the country on a Western airlift since the Taliban seized power earlier this month.

The Pentagon confirmed the blast, with no immediate word on casualties.

The United States and allies have been urging people to move away from Kabul airport due to a “very credible” threat of a terror attack by Islamic State (IS) militants as Western troops hurry to evacuate as many people as possible before an August. 31 deadline.

Earlier today, the United States says as many as 1,500 Americans may be awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan amid growing warnings Thursday of terrorists threat targeting the Kabul airport as President Joe Biden’s deadline for withdrawing troops fast approaches.

Daily Mail of UK reports that there are fears airlifts out of Afghanistan could be abandoned after the explosion, adding that the Pentagon confirmed the blast, which is thought to have been a suicide bomb attack, and said ‘casualties are unclear at this time’. 

UK ministers had warned this morning that there was ‘very credible reporting’ of an ‘imminent’ terrorist attack in the area. 

The Ministry of Defence said it is now ‘working urgently to establish what has happened in Kabul and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort’. 
It said: ‘Our primary concern remains the safety of our personnel, British citizens and the citizens of Afghanistan. We are in close contact with our US and other NATO allies at an operational level on the immediate response to this incident.’ 

The explosion will inevitably prompt speculation over whether rescue flights out of the country will be able to continue ahead of the deadline for the withdrawal of US forces on August 31.

The blast came after Boris Johnson had warned that time is running out to rescue people from Afghanistan ahead of Joe Biden’s exit date.  

The Prime Minister had said at lunchtime that the UK will continue with airlifts ‘for as long as we can’ and insisted ‘we have got the overwhelming majority’ of eligible people out.  

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey this morning delivered the stark admission that the UK will not be able to rescue everyone who is eligible. 
Mr Heappey said the ‘window of opportunity to evacuate people is closing’ and ‘there will be people on your TV screens over the weekend that have been left behind’. 

The UK was due to run 11 evacuation flights today but Mr Heappey would not be drawn on whether there will be more tomorrow. 

Mr Biden rejected calls from Mr Johnson and other NATO allies to push back his withdrawal deadline to provide more time for the humanitarian airlifts. 

The UK is scrambling to get as many eligible people out of the country as possible amid fears those who worked for Britain could face reprisals under the new Taliban regime.

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