Kabul: At least 170 people have been killed in the twin suicide bombings at an airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Over 200 people have been injured, and more than half of them are in critical condition. The attacks, which occurred as Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban and foreign nationals and soldiers prepare to leave, have sent shockwaves across the world. Some analysts have compared the suicide bombings to the 9/11 attacks. However, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The United States, the UK and Germany had warned of a terrorist attack on the Kabul airport. The warning has come true, and the terrorists have shaken the world by carrying out the two serial blasts at Kabul airport. The dead are said to include women and children. There are discrepancies in the death toll being reported by news channels. The first blast occurred near the Abbey Gate at Kabul Airport. Minutes later, another bomb exploded near the Baron Hotel near the airport. The Taliban has said that both were suicide bombings. Also, the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed it.
There are unconfirmed reports by some journalists who informed that a shooting had occurred between the two blasts. Two US officials have said one of the two explosions had been caused by a suicide bomber. Besides, the second blast at Barron Hotel was carried out to target US officials staying here, the officials explained.
The Taliban, on the contrary, has claimed the blast occurred between the crowds gathered at the airport. Ghastly photographs of it have surfaced in the media. The explosion was followed by sheer chaos at the Kabul airport. Moreover, the incident has posed a new challenge to the United States and other countries struggling to evacuate and repatriate their citizens. The Taliban has blamed the United States and the West for being responsible for the blast. It has made the security situation in Afghanistan more sensitive, with reports of President Emmanuel Macron recalling the French ambassador to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the suicide bombing has mounted tremendous pressure on US President Joe Biden. Biden is facing backlash from the United States, where he is being held responsible for the crowds at Kabul’s airport due to the administration’s mishandling. Furthermore, European countries have expressed outrage over the situation, made apparent at the recent G7 virtual summit. Biden was made aware by other G7 members that it was impossible to pull out US & foreign troops as well as their civilians from Afghanistan by August 31. Even so, he has refused to extend the deadline.
The Taliban had threatened not to allow the presence of any foreign troops in Afghanistan after August 31. Biden is being criticised that his strict adherence to the Taliban’s warning is letting down allies. In such a situation, the attack on the Kabul airport is a new challenge for the United States. Thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan in fear of the Taliban are waiting for being rescued at Kabul airport, putting their lives at risk. These include Afghans along with foreign nationals. Now, the Taliban says it will no longer allow Afghan nationals to leave the country and has instructed the ones outside the airport to return home after beating them up. Yet, Afghans are risking their lives and trying to enter the airport.
Under such circumstances, the US and other countries will have to brace for the challenge of securing the airport as they pull out their citizens and troops from Afghanistan.