At least two suicide bombings have rocked the Kabul, Afghanistan airport as of 11:30am Eastern Time on Thursday, August 26th, 2021. Reports state that four US marines were killed and dozens of others (including Afghans and Taliban guards) are feared dead or severely injured. These bombings are the proverbial “worst-case scenario” due to the impending hard-line exit date imposed by the Taliban. According to the Taliban, Tuesday, August 31st is the “red line” exit date. If that date is not met, the Taliban says there will be “consequences”.
The original US exit date from Afghanistan negotiated by the Trump administration was back in May. That date came and went as the Biden administration scrapped the existing exit plan and agreement. A new and symbolic date of September 11th was established by the Biden team to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. However, the Taliban did not take this news too well as the prior agreement was broken. When the United States left in the middle of the night long before the new exit date, chaos immediately broke out in Afghanistan.
The central issue here is the crowding of the airport in Kabul. Thousands of people have been crowding the gates outside in desperation to catch a flight out of the country. Afghan nationals, American citizens, journalists, and even some military are trying to escape. The Taliban are stationed at checkpoints leading to the airport which makes it difficult to travel freely. Intel suggests that the Taliban are not allowing Afghan nationals into the airport and only foreigners have the right to leave. That dynamic creates a serious problem for Afghan translators who helped the US military. They are essentially sitting ducks just waiting to be killed by the Taliban.
Obviously, the need to exit Afghanistan is a matter of life and death for thousands of people. This makes the overcrowded airport area a prime target for terrorists. The Taliban are bad enough, but ISIS is also in the region. ISIS and the Taliban have been fighting for control over the country for a while now. That struggle will simply intensify without the military support of foreigners. ISIS is most likely responsible for the suicide bombings at the airport. Aside from US soldiers and Afghan civilians, Taliban guards were also injured.
The Biden administration will have a difficult time explaining this mess that has happened under their watch. And judging from how the mainstream media have essentially thrown the President under the bus, there won’t be much in the way of bailing him out this time.
Twin suicide bombings outside Kabul airport kill 13 and leave 15 wounded – MarketWatch
Taliban Hold Firm Against Extending Aug. 31 Deadline : NPR
Kabul airport: US concerned about ‘very specific threat stream’ from ISIS-K against crowds outside airport – CNNPolitics