On Thursday, the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) claimed responsibility after suicide bombers detonated explosives outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, killing dozens, including 12 U.S. service members.
Middle East Institute (MEI) senior fellow Charles Lister tweeted an image of a statement released by the ISIS-affiliated Amaq News Agency, which claimed ISIS responsibility for the bombings.
“BREAKING — #ISIS claim responsibility for today’s attack in #Kabul,” Lister tweeted. “The #ISIS claim ID’s the attacker as Abdulrahman al-Logari (from #Logar province) — says he reached ‘within 5 meters’ of U.S. forces before detonating his explosives.”
Reuters reported the ISIS press statement also claims the suicide bomber “managed to reach a large gathering of translators and collaborators with the American army at ‘Baran Camp’ near Kabul Airport and detonated his explosive belt among them, killing about 60 people and wounding more than 100 others, including Taliban fighters.”
In addition to the U.S. casualties, Afghan health officials said between 30 and 40 people were killed, and 120 injured, the New York Times reported.
NBC correspondent Richard Engel separately tweeted, “12 US service members killed in Kabul airport attack, pentagon says. Medical official in kabul says 60 Afghans killed, and number expected to rise.”
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported the Islamic State’s Afghan branch, known as ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K, has seen its ranks bolstered after the Taliban have freed thousands of prisoners during their takeover of Afghanistan.
During a Pentagon press briefing to address the bombing attacks, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said he believes one of the suicide bombers detonated their explosives while being screened by U.S. service members at a gate outside the Kabul airport.
CBS News tweeted, “Gen. McKenzie tells CBS News’ David Martin his ‘working assumption’ is that Kabul airport suicide bomber detonated while being checked by U.S. service members at a gate, but this is not confirmed. McKenzie says U.S. is focused on preventing other ‘active threats’ to the airfield.”
During his press remarks, McKenzie said, “If we can find who’s associated with this, we will go after them. We’ve been clear all along that we’re going to retain the right to operate against ISIS in Afghanistan. We are working very hard right to determine attribution – to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack – and we’re prepared to take action against them. 24/7 we are looking for them.”