Multiple Explosions at Karzai Airport Yesterday

Marines at the Abbey Gate at Karzai airport were briefed that credible bomb threats had been received but they continued to process Afghans seeking evacuation. At the nearby Baron Hotel, the British were processing evacuees for their own airlift effort. And then the attack happened.

The first suicide bomber exploded at the Abbey Gate and the second in front of the Baron Hotel across the street from the Airport. So far, the casualties are 92 killed — among them 13 U.S. servicemembers — and another 200 wounded.

The Taliban have denied responsibility or involvement. They instead blamed the United States by saying it was in charge at the airport gates and that the U.S. and NATO occupation of the country was the root cause of the attack.

Here is the thing most refuting to Taliban claims of denial;  If ordinary Afghans couldn’t get past numerous Taliban security checkpoints set up around the airport, how did three or more suicide bombers do it?

The attack was claimed by ISIS-K. The terrorist group is also known as IS-K, Daesh-Khorasan, and, more formally, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Khorasan Province. They recruit mostly in Uzbekistan and Pakistan and also accept significant support from Afghans who defect from the Taliban.

While ISIS-K opposes the Taliban, it should be remembered that both oppose U.S. and NATO forces being in Afghanistan. It is not impossible to imagine that the Taliban would turn a blind eye to ISIS-K plans to strike at U.S. forces and disloyal Afghans, even if their own guards in the crowd were among the dead. There are many ways to be a martyr, after all.

As for direct Taliban responsibility, they control access to the gates U..S and NATO forces control. The explosions occurred in their area of responsibility.

Last year, under U.S. pressure, the Afghan government released 5,000 prisoners that included members of the Taliban and ISIS-K, as part of the withdrawal agreement made with President Trump.