Pentagon says Kabul airport attack carried out by one suicide bomber

A relative mourns next to the coffin of a victim of Thursday's suicide bombing outside Kabul airport.
A relative mourns next to the coffin of a victim of Thursday's suicide bombing outside Kabul airport. © Aamir Qureshi, AFP

Thursday's deadly attack in the Afghan capital was carried out by a single suicide bomber at a gate to the the city's international airport and there was no second explosion at a nearby hotel, the Pentagon said on Friday.


The Kabul airport attack on Thursday, which killed 13 US troops and at least 79 Afghans, was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. Its local affiliate, known as Islamic State-Khorosan, or IS-K, has emerged as an enemy of both the West and of the Taliban.

"I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber," Army Major General William Taylor told reporters. He said US troops wounded in the attack were now being treated in Germany.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the reporters the United States believed there are still "specific, credible" threats.

"We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts," Kirby said, adding: "We're monitoring these threats, very, very specifically, virtually in real time."

Thursday's attack occurred during a US-led evacuation of tens of thousands of people attempting to flee the Taliban.

US General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, had said on Thursday that initial information was that two suicide bombers had attacked the airport gate and the nearby Baron hotel.

The suicide bombing marked the deadliest day for US forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.

In an emotional speech, President Joe Biden vowed to hunt down the perpetrators and press ahead with the evacuation operation.

“We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on,” Biden said.


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