August 26, 2021
By David M. Fortier, Senior Field Editor
The Pentagon is reporting two large explosions near an airport gate at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan have claimed the lives of multiple US Marines and soldiers. Reports indicate two suicide bombs detonated at or near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport Thursday, 26th of August 2021. A US official stated the attack set off a firefight at the Abby Gate. In addition, it is reported multiple US service members, Afghan citizens (including children) and Taliban guards have been wounded in the explosions and are being treated. US officials say they expect the death toll of US service members to rise from this attack. An ISIS affiliate known as ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On the 24th August 2021 President Biden stated, “…the acute and growing risk of an attack” by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-K, as a reason not to extend the withdrawal timeline. US intelligence agencies were aware an attack was possible. The following day on the 25th of August the US Embassy in Afghanistan warned US citizens not to travel to the last remaining airport in American hands based on intelligence indicating specific threats involving ISIS and vehicle bombs were being planned. The US State Department also warned Americans at three entrance gates (Abbey Gate, East Gate and North Gate) to “leave immediately”.
Today, the 26th of August, the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stated, “We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate.” French President Emmanual Macron stated, “(The) coming hours will remain extremely dangerous in Kabul and at the airport.” There are reports of hundreds of ISIS-K militants in the vicinity of the Kabul airport, and further attacks are expected.
Who is ISIS-K?
ISIS-K (also known as Wilayat Khorasan) is the Islamic State (ISIS) “affiliate” in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Department of State in January 2016. Their intent is to secure Afghanistan as part of the ISIS caliphate across the Khorasan Province to include part of Central Asia, China, Iran and India. It is possibly ISIS’s most lethal regional affiliate and has an expansionist military strategy. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the US and NATO carried out more than 300 airstrikes against ISIS-K since January 2017. It should be noted ISIS-K regularly attacks the Taliban and considers them insufficiently devout to Islam.
The British Response
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a statement stating:
“I can confirm there has been a barbaric terrorist attack, what looks like a series of attacks, in Kabul on the airport, on the crowds of the airport, in which members of the US military have sadly lost their lives and many Afghan casualties as well,” Johnson said. “I think [these attacks] are despicable, but I’m afraid that this is something we have had to prepare for. It isn’t going to interrupt our progress, we are going to get on with our evacuation."
This is a developing story and more information will be added as it becomes available.
About the Author:
David M. Fortier has been covering firearms, ammunition and optics since 1998. He is a recipient of the Carl Zeiss Outdoor Writer of the Year award and his writing has been recognized by the Civil Rights organization JPFO. In 2007 he covered the war in Iraq as an embedded journalist.