Former British officer in dire warning as Taliban close Kabul airport road
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Huge crowds were gathered at the international airport before two confirmed blasts killed and injured dozens in a terror attack yesterday. Satellite photos taken ahead of the horrific explosions on Thursday have been released by Maxar Technologies.
The images captured hundreds of people crowding at the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport trying to flee the country after the Taliban captured Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and its other major cities.
It comes after reports and video footage showed people clinging to planes in desperation as countries began to evacuate people from the airport to escape the Taliban.
The first bomb went off at the airport’s Abbey Gate and a second at the nearby Baron Hotel at 1:40PM, or 5:40PM local time in Kabul.
It has been confirmed this morning that the attack killed more than 100 people, including 13 US soldiers.
President Joe Biden told a press briefing on Thursday that they were carried out by ISIS-K, an affiliate of ISIS.
The US leader said his team had intelligence the group had been planning out “a complex set of attacks” on US forces and others – and said US commanders would strike back.
Mr Biden described the US troops who had lost their lives as “heroes” and said: “Our hearts ache for all those Afghan families who lost loved ones, including small children”.
“For those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.
“These ISIS terrorists will not win.”
Gunfire was also reported in the aftermath of the explosions.
The bombs also stopped a last-ditch attempt to evacuate all the British embassy guards on one of the final flights out of Afghanistan.
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The international security company GardaWorld, which employed about 200 Afghan staff on contracts to protect the British embassy in Kabul, arranged 10 buses to collect their former employees to take them to the airport before dawn on Thursday.
But the explosions forced that operation to be abandoned.
However, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the Kabul airport attack “didn’t hasten our departure” and the main evacuee processing site was closed “exactly on schedule”.
He told Sky News: “The threat is obviously going to grow the closer we get to leaving.
“The narrative is always going to be certain groups, such as IS, will want to stake a claim that they have driven out the US or the UK.
“We closed the Barons hotel almost exactly on schedule. The explosion was horrendous but it didn’t hasten our departure.”
Mr Wallace also made clear that 14,000 British nationals and Afghans have been rescued in the mission since the middle of
But he sadly added that not every Briton could be evacuated.
He said: “It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process.”
The Ministry of Defence has also said the UK is now in its final stages of the evacuation and no more people are to be called forward to the airport to leave.
The UK managed to evacuate more than 13,700 British nationals and Afghans, representing the second biggest airlift by the country’s air force after the Berlin Airlift in 1949.
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