Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. The attacks killed at least 103 people including 13 US troops, Afghan and US officials said.
The US general overseeing the evacuation said the attacks would not stop the United States from evacuating Americans and others, and flights out were continuing.
Gen Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said there was a large amount of security at the airport, and alternate routes were being used to get evacuees in. About 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield, McKenzie said.
The blasts came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. But that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans desperate to escape the country in the last few days of an American-led evacuation before the US officially ends its 20-year presence on Aug 31.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel.
The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts.
Horrific images and videos from the site of blast have surfaced on social media.
The news has left people across the globe distraught, many of whom are helplessly praying for the victims and their families. Social media is witnessing an outpour of grief and support for Afghans.
Have a look. (Trigger warning)
With inputs from ANI.