Rohit Kachroo, ITV News’ global security editor, has the latest news from the chaotic scenes around Kabul airport as survivors are taken to nearby hospitals
President Biden has vowed to make Islamic State ‘pay’ after two suicide bombings near Kabul airport in Afghanistan claimed the lives of 12 US servicemen.
At least 90 people were killed in Thursday’s attacks, the majority of them Afghans queuing at the airport desperate to be evacuated.
143 more Afghans were wounded and 15 American soldiers were wounded.
The attackers struck at Abbey Gate and near the Baron Hotel, where the UK treated the British and Afghans eligible for evacuation.
President Joe Biden said during a press briefing on Thursday that the attack was carried out by ISIS-K, a subsidiary of the so-called Islamic State.
The US leader said his team had intelligence that the group was preparing “a complex set of attacks” against US forces and others – and said US commanders would retaliate.
The president called the American troops who lost their lives “heroes” and said: “Our hearts are aching for all these Afghan families who have lost loved ones, including young children.”
“We will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay”
“For those who carried out this attack, as well as for all those who wish America harm on America, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”
“These ISIS terrorists will not win,” he added.
Pressed by reporters on the US decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the president said he stood by his decision.
“I never thought that we should sacrifice American lives to try to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan,” he said.
Earlier today, US General Kenneth F. McKenzie said it was believed one of the attackers was undergoing checks by US officials in order to enter the airport – when the attacker detonated the device.
Speaking at a Pentagon briefing, the US military commander confirmed that the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers believed to be members of the Islamic State.
“It has been a tough day today,” General McKenzie told the media in his opening remarks.
Gunmen then opened fire on US forces and the crowds of people who gathered at the airport last week – desperate to flee the country.
The US military said it was in communication with the Taliban to prevent further attacks – while a Taliban spokesman said it was “the presence of foreign forces” that triggered such an attack.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said no British military or government casualties had been reported at an early stage.
Earlier Thursday, Boris Johnson warned of “many casualties” but stressed the evacuation process would continue.
Following a Cobra meeting on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the UK would continue evacuations from Kabul, despite the explosion.
Boris Johnson condemns Kabul airport attackers – ‘they are despicable’
“I want to stress that we are going to continue this operation – and we are now coming to the end, the very end, anyway,” he added.
“But clearly what this attack shows is the importance of continuing this work in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. “
He called the attack “barbaric”, adding: “Members of the US military have unfortunately lost their lives and [there are] also many Afghan victims. “
The Foreign Minister said US troops had “paid the ultimate sacrifice while helping others reach safety.”
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In a statement following an appeal with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Dominic Raab said: “I want to express my condolences to the families of all these Afghans killed and injured. It is tragic that in seeking safety they suffered at the hands of terrorists.
In a statement, Mr Raab continued: ‘Today’s attack is a stark reminder of the dangerous situation in which British military and civilian personnel worked so hard to evacuate people and we should be proud of them. bravery and what they accomplished. “
“The UK and US remain committed to our mission to get as many people out as possible. “
The UK has helped evacuate more than 11,000 people from Kabul, but many more have gathered around the airport – with desperate scenes of crowds heading for the gates.
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ITV News spoke to a witness who was in the area when the blast struck but was able to avoid injuries.
“People were killed, the ambulance was there. It was a horrible time, ”he said.
“I renounce everything, I renounce the evacuation.
“We will not go to the airport tomorrow because we saw a horrible scene today and I will not let my father, my family be the victim of this explosion, and be the victim of this murder and injuries. “
The attack was expected.
It came just hours after a UK government minister said there had been a Threat of “imminent” terrorist attack by the so-called Islamic State affiliated ISIS-K and warned British nationals to stay away.
Mr Johnson also said the UK was prepared for the possibility of an attack.
“We have always known that this was a time when there would be particular vulnerabilities to terrorism, to opportunistic terrorist attacks,” he said.
“We condemn them, I think they’re despicable – but I’m afraid that’s something we had to prepare for. “
Thousands of Afghans have gathered at the airport for days in an attempt to flee the country after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, a member of the foreign affairs and national security strategy committees, said there were “so many injured” in a bomb or gun attack at the hotel Baron in Kabul.
She tweeted: “A bomb or a gunshot attack on the north door of Baron’s hotel. I’m worried it will devastate the evacuation – so many injured. My heart is with all who are hurt and killed. “
She added, “No, I’m not just worried, I’m livid, I’m heartbroken and I’m furious. The agreements are concluded without the contribution of the United Kingdom by “allies”. Taliban checkpoints stop our people, but not the terrorists.
“There are people – damn people – who for days tried to get out, now on the run. “
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the reports from Kabul were “devastating”, adding: “Our hearts go out to all who are killed and injured, to the personnel on duty supporting the evacuations and to all who attempt desperately to leave ”.