At least 170 Afghans and 13 American troops were killed on August 26 after a suicide bomber and gunmen carried out attacks at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.
The US had earlier said that there were two suicide bomb attacks but on Friday, the US Pentagon said that there was only one suicide bomb attack.
The attacks took place even as thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals thronged the airport to be evacuated out of the Taliban controlled country.
An official with Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health told CNN that 170 people were killed in the attacks and over 200 people have been wounded while 13 US troops were killed and 18 were injured.
Islamic State Khorasan Province, the regional affiliate of the ISIS, has claimed responsibility of the attack.
Multiple media outlets reported that western agencies had warned of a major attack near the airport and had urged people to leave the premises but to no avail.
When And Where Did The Attacks Take Place?
The suicide bomb attack took place at around 6 pm local time at Abbey Gate, which was being used by western forces to process evacuees. An unknown number of ISIS-K gunmen followed up the bomb attack by opening fire on western forces and Afghans. It is not known whether the gunmen have been apprehended or were killed in the attack.
Earlier reports stated that a second explosion occurred minutes later in the vicinity of Baron Hotel which was being used by British troops as a processing centre of evacuees.
"I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber," US Army Major General William Taylor was quoted as saying by Reuters on Friday.
Many people caught in the blast were blown into a sewage canal which runs close to the airport turning the water red with blood. An Afghan health official told the BBC that 150 people were wounded in the attack. Visuals showed Afghan civilians transporting those injured in the attacks on wheelbarrows.
US Central Command spokesman Major John Rigsbee told CNN that NATO forces conducted many controlled explosions within the Kabul airport.
Who Are ISIS-K?
ISIS-K are the Afghan affiliate of the ISIS. Though they have links to the Taliban via the Haqqani network, the ISIS-K has been branded as enemies by the Taliban.
The ISIS-K was formed in 2015 and has seen many Taliban fighters defect to the ISIS. The group have clashed frequently with the ISIS-K even driving out Taliban forces from the eastern province of Nangarhar in 2015.
The BBC reports that when the Taliban took control of Kabul, it released many prisoners from Pul-e-Charki jail including al-Qaeda and ISIS-K terrorists.
How Have The US and Western Countries Responded?
Terming Thursday's attacks as complex, US President Joe Biden vowed to hunt down those responsible for the attacks in Afghanistan and abroad but won't resort to large-scale military operations.
"With regard to finding, tracking down the ISIS leaders who ordered this, we have some reason to believe we know who they are — not certain — and we will find ways of our choosing, without large military operations, to get them," Biden said.
Biden reaffirmed the August 31 deadline of pulling out US troops from Afghanistan stating that it was the danger of attacks like the ones carried out on Thursday that has led him to stick to the deadline.
US Central Command Commander General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US expects more attacks against over the next few days and will co-ordinate with the Taliban to prevent them.
"The threat from ISIS is extremely real. We believe it is their desire to continue those attacks and we expect those attacks to continue. And we are doing everyting we can to be prepared. That includes reaching out to the Taliban who are providing security cordon around the airfield," McKenzie said in a news briefing.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that British evacuation efforts would continue despite the attack. Australia and New Zealand have ended their evacuation process with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stating that they were not aware as to how many NZ visa holders are still in the country.
Canada, Germany, Norway, Hungary and The Netherlands have ended their evacuation process in Afghanistan. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would negotiate with the Taliban to get more people out of the country.
How Has The Taliban Reacted To The Attacks?
The Taliban has distanced itself from the attacks stating that it was "not responsible for the chaotic evacuation plan prepared by foreign nations". An unnamed Taliban official told Reuters that 28 Taliban members were killed in the attacks.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen stated that the attacks took place in an area which was not under Taliban security but under US security. Shaheen also said that the Taliban would protects its people and "evil circles" will be stopped.
However, Afghanistan acting president Amrullah Saleh said that ISIS-K has roots in the Taliban and that their denial of involvement was similar to Pakistan's denials in helping set up the Quetta Shura in 2001.
Note: An earlier version of this report stated that there were two bomb blasts near the airport. The report has been updated after the US clarified that there was only one bomb blast.
Updated On: 2021-08-29T14:03:02+05:30