Twelve US service members were killed and 15 more were injured following an attack near Kabul's airport, Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, announced Thursday at a briefing.
McKenzie spoke at length this afternoon about the situation near Afghanistan's Kabul airport, where, according to an official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, more than 60 people were killed.
President Biden will deliver remarks on the attack at 5 p.m. ET, according to the the White House schedule.
Here's the latest:
- The casualties: In total, more than 60 people were killed and at least 140 were injured, according to an Afghan public health official. McKenzie confirmed US service members were killed and injured in the attack, saying, "it's a hard day today."
- Nature of the attack: McKenzie said the attack included two suicide bombers followed by gunmen opening fire. There were at least two explosions near a gate at the Kabul airport today. They came as the US and other countries race to evacuate people ahead of President Biden's Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
- Threats persist: McKenzie said that while they continue to investigate the perpetrators of today's attack against Kabul airport, they are also focused on other "extremely active threat streams" to the airfield. The general explained that these threats mean they could be "imminent" and "could occur at any moment" and could include rocket attacks, vehicle attacks or a vest-wearing suicide attacker. McKenzie said they are coordinating with the Taliban on security for the airport and that the US mission is continuing despite the attack, and that the US will “go after” the people responsible for the attack.
- Americans still in Afghanistan: There are roughly 1,000 Americans left in Afghanistan following the attack, according to the Pentagon. "As of today we have 5,000 evacuees on the ramp awaiting air left. Since August 14, we've evacuated more than 104,000 civilians, over 66,000 by the United States and over 37,000 by our allies and partners. ... As the secretary of state said yesterday, we believe there are about a little more than 1,000 Americans left in Afghanistan at this point," McKenzie said.
- Evacuation efforts will continue: While the "threat from ISIS is extremely real," troops are still assisting with bringing people onto the airfield at Kabul's airport, McKenzie said. "We are continuing to bring people onto the airfield. We just brought a number of buses aboard the airfield over the last couple or three hours. We'll continue to process and flow people out. The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack. And we will coordinate to make sure it's safe for American citizens to come to the airfield. If it's not, we'll tell them to hold and work other ways to get them to the airport. We'll continue to flow them out until the end of the month," he said.