Pentagon provides update on Kabul airport attack

Pentagon provides update on Kabul airport attack

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon will brief reporters on Thursday afternoon after confirming that two explosions near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport have left several U.S. servicemen dead and dozens injured among Afghans.

US Navy General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, is also expected to brief reporters as well as Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The latest revelation comes as U.S. and coalition forces step up emergency evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, a mission expected to end in five days.

About 5,400 US troops are participating in the Kabul evacuation efforts. Britain’s Defense Ministry, which has the second largest military footprint in Kabul, said earlier Thursday that there had been no known casualties between its government and military personnel on the ground.

After the first explosion, the US Embassy in Kabul urged Americans to avoid going to the airport and its gates. The embassy had previously issued a security alert urging US citizens to “quit immediately” near the airport gate.

Since the surprise collapse of the Afghan government at the hands of the Taliban more than a week ago, thousands of Afghans have gathered at the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport, demanding they leave the country.

In the past 24 hours, Western forces have evacuated 13,400 people from Kabul in 91 military cargo plane flights. Since the start of the mass evacuation on August 14, approximately 95,700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

About 101,300 people have been evacuated since late July, including about 4,500 US citizens and their families.

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