WASHINGTON: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack on an airport in Kabul on Thursday during a US-led evacuation from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the site monitoring agency said.
Amaq, the propaganda arm of the jihadist group, said the bomber was “able to penetrate all security fortifications today” and reached within “five meters (16 ft)” of US forces before detonating its explosive belt.
The statement mentions only one bomber and one explosion. At least two bombs are believed to have gone off during Thursday’s attack on the airport.
The United States and other Western powers participating in the evacuation had for days been warned of threats by the regional branch of Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Thousands of Afghan citizens have been waiting outside the airport since the Taliban came to power in the country on August 15, fearing revenge and a return to Islamists’ brutal interpretation of Islamic law.
Foreign nations are also rushing to evacuate their staff and civilians ahead of the August 31 deadline set by US President Joe Biden for a full withdrawal of US troops from the country.
The Afghan branch of IS, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan province, first set foot in eastern Nangarhar province in 2015, but in recent years has come under pressure from the US-led coalition, the Afghan military and the Taliban. has come.
However, it has retained the ability to carry out devastating attacks in Kabul.
General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, told reporters before the claim of responsibility that once the United States confirmed who was behind the attack “we will go after them.”
He also said the threat of more attacks, including a vehicle bomb, remained “imminent” and warned that the group would also like to strike one of the dozens of planes flying in and out of the airport as evacuations continued.