Twin suicide bombs ripped through crowds outside Kabul airport on Thursday, killing scores of people including 13 US troops and deepening panic in the final days of an already frenzied evacuation effort from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
The bombings, claimed by the Islamic State group, left scenes of carnage outside the airport where thousands of Afghans desperate to flee their country had massed despite a flurry of foreign government warnings — made just hours before — that a major terror attack was imminent.
President Joe Biden, under enormous pressure over his administration’s handling of the Afghan crisis, said the airlift would not be derailed and vowed to punish those responsible.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said. However Biden also insisted all American troops must leave Afghanistan and the airlift will end by Tuesday, partly due to the threat of more IS attacks.
More than 100,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan since the Taliban swept into power on August 15, with Afghans desperate to escape the feared hardline rule of the fundamentalist Islamists.
The Taliban had allowed US-led forces to conduct the airlift, while planning to finalise their own government as soon as the American troops left.But the IS jihadists, rivals of the Taliban with their own track record of barbaric attacks in Afghanistan, were intent on capitalising on the chaos in Kabul.