Injured people loaded into ambulance van near Kabul Airport
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The Taliban have taken over Afghanistan’s capital, with thousands fleeing the country through Kabul’s airport. Two explosions took place at the airport on Thursday, with at least 60 people dead and over 140 injured due to the blasts. About 5,000 people are still at the airport waiting to be evacuated.
Habib Rahman, from Toxteth, Liverpool, went to Afghanistan last week to “save his family” from the militants.
After travelling more than 200 miles to find his wife, children and step-brother, Mr Rahman returned to Hamid Karzai International Airport to fly back to the UK.
The deadline for flights out of Afghanistan is August 31, with thousands of refugees seeking safe passage out of the country.
While queueing at the airport, he was just “a few yards” away from the Abbey Gate, where one of the two blasts on Thursday occurred.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Rahman said he “won’t sleep” due to the blood of “hundreds” he saw die from the explosions.
He told the outlet: “We were just a few yards away from where the incident happened.
“I have seen people run out and passing, each covered in blood.
“I saw hundreds of people blown up in front of me.
“I won’t sleep because of the blood I have seen today.”
Mr Rahman and his family suffered minor injuries but have said they are “safe”.
The first explosion happened at about 18:00 local time (13:30 BST), close to the Baron Hotel, near the airport’s perimeter.
The hotel was used by British officials to process Afghans hoping to travel to the UK.
It was followed by gunfire and then a second explosion close to the Abbey Gate, one of the airport’s main entrances.
A senior Kabul health official told the BBC at least 60 people died in the two explosions, with more than 140 people left injured.
The Pentagon confirmed US service personnel were among those killed, with 11 US Marines and a Navy medic dead in the first American casualties since early 2020.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said there had been “no reported UK military or UK government casualties”.
Reports suggest at least one attacker was wearing an explosive vest, with US officials saying two suicide bombers targeted the airport and hotel.
The blasts followed Western Governments’ warning for citizens to keep away from the airport after a threat from IS-K, the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State group.
In a message posted on their news outlet’s Telegram channel, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility and said a suicide bomber – who they identified – detonated an explosive vest among Afghans and US forces.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, of US Central Command, said the US is co-ordinating with the Taliban to fight off IS-K, but added: “The threat from ISIS is completely real, we expect those attacks to continue.”
Boris Johnson has hit out against the “barbaric” and “despicable” attack on Kabul.
The Prime Minister had chaired an emergency meeting in response to Thursday’s attacks and said later: “I want to stress that this threat of a terrorist attack is one of the constraints that we’ve been operating under… in the big extraction that’s been going on, and we’ve been ready for it, we’ve been prepared for it.
“And I want to stress that we’re going to continue with that operation – and we’re now coming towards the end of it, to the very end of it, in any event.
“But, clearly, what this attack shows is the importance of continuing that work in as fast and as efficient manner as possible in the hours that remain to us, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Mr Johnson then said the Foreign Office, Home Office and Border Force teams were “going to work flat out” to get people through “as fast as they can”.
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