Crime & Justice

At least 170 killed in airport attack, Afghans say

Kabul, Aug 27 (EFE).- At least 170 people died as a result of the terrorist attack at Kabul’s international airport by the Afghan branch of Islamic State, a source close to Taliban leaders told Efe Friday on condition of anonymity.

That total includes the 13 United States military personnel who died in Thursday’s blast at the Abbey Gate entrance to the airport, the source said, putting the number of injured at 150.

A single hospital, Wazir Akbar Khan, received 145 dead bodies on Thursday and continues to treat 50 people for injuries suffered in the attack, a member of staff told Efe.

Sixteen other fatalities and more than 40 wounded people were taken to a hospital run by the Italian NGO Emergency.

Alberto Kanin, medical coordinator at the Emergency hospital, said on Twitter Friday that only four of the institution’s 115 beds – just increased from 100 – were empty.

Many of the attack victims being treated at the Emergency hospital are children with burns or wounds caused by shrapnel or the shockwave from the blast, he said.

The hospital’s doctors and nurses are working double shifts, the NGO said.

During the previous period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, from 1996 until the US invasion in October 2001, women were effectively confined to the home and there have been reports of female employees’ being barred from workplaces since the Islamist group returned to power.

On Friday, however, the Taliban chief spokesman called on female medical professionals to return to work.

“The Ministry of Public Health of the Islamic Emirate advises all women employees in the center and provinces that they should attend work regularly,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. “They will face no impediment to performing their duties.”

The 18 US service members wounded in the bombing have been airlifted to Germany for treatment, Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor said Friday.

Taylor also said that contrary to initial reports, the attack involved one explosion and a single suicide bomber.

“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,” he told reporters.

In claiming responsibility for the strike, Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) said that there was only one bomb.

US officials issued a fresh terror alert Friday in the wake of the assault at the airport.

The attack took place days after several governments had warned of the possibility of attacks at the airport, which has been thronged every day since the fall of the capital by thousands of people hoping of boarding evacuation flights.

It was the first terror attack since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan for a second time and came despite rigorous security checks installed by the Islamist militia and the US military.

On Friday, several countries, including Spain and Australia, ended their evacuation operations in Kabul, while the US military braced for more attacks ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline for final withdrawal.

The US military asked the Afghan media on Friday to avoid going to the airport due to the “active threats” in the area.

“We are asking all our friends in the Afghan media to please avoid the Kabul Airport for the time being. There are active threats and the situation is currently not safe,” a source in the military told EFE.

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