Desperate Afghans still await flights to flee Taliban

Blast reported near Kabul airport


An explosion was reported at the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.

According to media reports, a U.S. official stated that there were injuries among Afghans, but there is no information about U.S. casualties.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that there was an explosion outside the airport. “We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul Airport. The casualties are not yet known. We will provide more details when possible,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier, Western countries warned that the Kabul airport might be attacked. In the days when the large-scale airlift was about to end, thousands of people flocked to try to escape the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Britain said the attack could happen within a few hours.

Several countries urge people to avoid airports, and Belgium says there is a threat of suicide bombings. But only a few days before the end of the evacuation operation and the retreat of the U.S. troops, almost no one noticed the call.

In the past week, the airport has been the scene of some of the hottest scenes of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban takeover, as one plane after another landed to pull out those who were afraid of returning to the brutal rule of the militants.

Some countries have ended their evacuation and started withdrawing their soldiers and diplomats, which marked the end of one of the largest airlifts in history. So far, the Taliban have fulfilled their promise not to attack Western troops during the evacuation period, but insist that foreign troops must withdraw before the August 31 deadline set by the United States.

But overnight, Western capitals issued new warnings about the threat of Afghan Islamic State Group affiliates, and the Taliban released prisoners during a nationwide blitzkrieg, which may have boosted its ranking.

British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC on Thursday there was ”very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” at the airport, possibly within “hours.”

Heappey conceded that people are desperate to leave and “there is an appetite by many in the queue to take their chances, but the reporting of this threat is very credible indeed and there is a real imminence to it.”

“There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice again and process people anew, but there’s no guarantee of that,” he added.

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