Afghanistan Live Updates: Biden Vows Revenge After Kabul Airport Attack, Evacuations Enter Final Phase

Live Updates

President Joe Biden has vowed to "respond with force and precision" after a deadly bombing at Kabul's airport killed 13 American service members and many other Afghans waiting to be evacuated.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack after several countries warned yesterday of "very credible reports" the group was targeting the airport. Countries, including the U.S., continue to press ahead with the final phase of evacuations before Tuesday's withdrawal deadline.

The Pentagon said there are "specific and credible" threats for future terror attacks in Kabul.

During a press briefing Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the U.S. "expects future attempts."

The State Department confirmed that it is communicating directly with about 500 American citizens in Afghanistan who want to leave the country.

Despite the August 31 withdrawal deadline approaching, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said "there is no expiration date for" the U.S. commitment to American citizens."

The U.S. is still coordinating with the Taliban to ensure safe evacuations out of Afghanistan but is still considering its future diplomatic presence in Kabul. Price told reporters Friday that this will depend on the Taliban's ability to uphold its commitments to maintain security on the ground.

The live updates for this blog have ended.


Kabul Attack Victims
Relatives load in a car the coffin of a victim of the August 26 twin suicide bombs, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops outside Kabul airport, at a hospital run by the Italian NGO Emergency in Kabul on August 27, 2021. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

State Department says it's "not up to us" what happens to the Kabul airport after August 31

After the withdrawal deadline at the end of the month, the U.S. intends to transfer the Kabul airport "back to the Afghan people."

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said it's "not up to us to decide" who controls the airport after U.S. forces leave.

"It is not up to us what the airport looks like after August 31," he said.

Price added that the U.S. is facilitating discussions about the future management of Kabul airport with the Taliban, countries in the region, as well as air traffic experts who have just completed a technical assessment on what it would take to keep it running smoothly.

"There is no expiration date for" the U.S. commitment to American citizens, State Department says

The U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to Americans who will remain in Afghanistan after August 31 but may want to leave the country in the future.

"There is no expiration date for" the U.S. commitment to American citizens, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

He added that the Taliban has also "not put an expiration date on" its promise to facilitate the safe passage of Americans to the Kabul airport and out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. is maintaining communication with the Taliban on evacuation efforts but is "watching closely" that the group upholds its commitments.

Price also noted that the U.S. is not sharing sensitive information about vulnerable Afghans with the Taliban.

"The idea that we are providing names or personally identifiable information to the Taliban in a way that exposes anyone to additional risk, that is simply wrong, simply wrong," Price said.

State Department "unaware" of any U.S. civilian causalities

The U.S. State Department is unaware of any U.S. civilian casualties of the attack at the Kabul airport Thursday.

"We are unaware that any Americans were, that any either private or Americans under chief of mission authority were killed or injured or harmed in the attacks," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

U.S. still considering the future of its diplomatic presence in Kabul, State Department says

The Taliban has made it "quite clear and quite open" that they would like the U.S. and other nations to retain their diplomatic presence in Kabul, the State Department said.

The U.S. has not yet made a decision on a future diplomatic presence, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, but "we are actively discussing."

About 500 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave, State Department says

The U.S. is communicating with approximately 500 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave the country, according to the State Department.

State Department Press spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. is currently working with those citizens directly to facilitate their evacuation.

The majority of the locally employed staff of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and their families have been evacuated or are ready to depart at the Kabul airport, Price added.

11 Marines confirmed killed in Kabul attack

The U.S. Marines confirmed another Marine was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in the bombing at the Kabul airport.

"We can confirm, at this time, 11 Marines were killed in the line of duty at Hamid Karzai International Airport. This is an update to the information we provided yesterday," Maj. Jim Stenger, Marine Corps spokesperson, told CNN.

A total of 11 Marines, one U.S. Navy service member and one U.S. Army soldier were killed in Thursday's attack.

Homeland Security will lead relocation efforts for Afghans in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will lead efforts to relocate Afghan evacuees in the United States.

"Already, DHS has been working closely with agencies across government, including our military, diplomats, intelligence community and law enforcement professionals, and many others to ensure that all Afghans are screened and vetted prior to being allowed into the United States," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday.

Another terror attack in Kabul is likely, White House says

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said another terror attack in Kabul "is likely."

During a press briefing Friday, Psaki said that the U.S. national security team is taking "maximum force protection measures" at the Kabul airport.

She said the next few days will be "the most dangerous part of the mission."

"This is the retrograde period of the mission. And what that means is that this is the period of time when the military, commanders on the ground and forces begin to move not just troops home, but also equipment home," she said.

Psaki added that "the threat is ongoing, it is active, our troops are still in danger."

While Psaki said that the U.S. doesn't trust the Taliban, officials will continue to work with the Taliban to coordinate evacuation efforts.

Two British nationals, a child among those killed in the Kabul attack

Two British nationals and the child of another British national were killed in the terror attack in Kabul Thursday, the U.K foreign secretary announced.

"I was deeply saddened to learn that two British nationals and the child of another British national were killed by yesterday's terror attack, with two more injured," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

"These were innocent people and it is a tragedy that as they sought to bring their loved ones to safety in the U.K. they were murdered by cowardly terrorists."

Raab added that the U.K. "will not turn our backs on those who look to us in their hour of need, and we will never be cowed by terrorists."

Kabul attack death toll reaches 170, Afghan health official says

More than 170 people were killed in the suicide bomber attack at the Kabul airport Thursday, an Afghan Ministry of Health official told CNN.

There are more than 200 people wounded.

U.S. Army confirms one solider died in Kabul attack

The U.S. Army confirmed that one soldier was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bomber attack at the Kabul airport Thursday.

"My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims of the terrible, cowardly attacks in Kabul," Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth said in a statement. "I join all of my fellow DoD leaders in honoring our Service Members' sacrifice–they gave all for others."

"Our Army mourns the loss of our Soldier and we are here to support his family and friends. His fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, & Airmen continue their brave mission," she added.

Hospital in Kabul adds beds to treat victims of airport attack

Emergency NGO, an Italian-based hospital in Kabul, had to add more beds to its facility to treat victims of the suicide bomber attack at the Kabul airport Thursday.

"We have increased the number of beds from 100 to 115 in order to handle this emergency," Alberto Zanin, Medical Coordinator in Kabul, said. "At the moment, there are four free beds."

On the hospital's Twitter account, Zanin said that the injured victims include women and children, "some very young." He said the injuries were caused by shrapnel fragments or shock waves and burns.

"The look on the faces of the people brought to the hospital was blank, as if they had seen the ugliest thing in the world. They were filled with the deepest terror," Zanin said.

The hospital provides free intensive care in Kabul.

Kabul airport remains operational, Pentagon says

The Kabul airport is currently operational and the U.S. plans to keep it operational up until they leave the country, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

"We're going to need it to continue to function right up until the very end," he said.

READ MORE: "Live Updates: Pentagon Holds News Briefing Day After Deadly Kabul Attack"

Pentagon will no longer provide details on the number of troops on the ground in Kabul

Moving forward, the Pentagon will not provide daily updates on the number of U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan amid credible security threats.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the department will "become more judicious" about the details it will release on the number of troops in Afghanistan as a matter of "operational security."

Kirby said there are currently more than 5,000 U.S. troops at the Kabul airport.

U.S. sticking to August 31 withdrawal deadline in Afghanistan, Pentagon says

The U.S. is still planning to end its evacuation mission in Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline, the Pentagon said.

"As we get closer, and we are getting closer, you're going see us begin to make those muscle movements to pull out our troops and some of our equipment, as appropriate with any retrograde," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

Kirby added that the U.S. is working to strike a balance between pulling out troops and equipment while continuing evacuation efforts.

"Lives are still the priority," Kirby said.

"I think you'll see us adjust as necessary to make sure that we're achieving that proper balance. But we'll be able to fly out evacuees right up until the last moment. That's gonna be the goal," he said.

There are "specific and credible" attack threats, Pentagon says

The Pentagon said the U.S. is monitoring security threats in Afghanistan "virtually in real time."

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said there are "specific and credible threats" of future terrorist attacks.

He added that the U.S. is "prepared and expects future attempts," but could not share specific details.

"The threat from ISIS is real," Kirby added.

Additional military bases will house influx of Afghan refugees across the U.S.

Up to 50,000 refugees can now be housed in military bases across the United States, the Pentagon said.

The military will use three more bases to host refugees: Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Pickett in Virginia and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Over 5,000 Americans evacuated from Afghanistan, Pentagon says

In the last 24 hours, 89 flights carried 12,500 evacuees out of Kabul, the Pentagon said Friday.

This includes more than 300 American citizens, bringing the total number of Americans airlifted out of Afghanistan to about 5,100, General Hank Taylor said during a press briefing.

About 5,400 people are currently waiting to depart at the Kabul airport, Taylor said.

Only one suicide bomber involved in Kabul airport attack, Pentagon clarifies

The Pentagon confirms that there was only one suicide bomber involved in the Kabul airport attack Thursday.

There was one bomber at the Abbey Gate, Major General Hank Taylor said during a press briefing Friday. There was not a second bomb near the Baron Hotel, as originally reported.

He added that "the confusion of a dynamic event like this" can "cause information to be misreported."

UN Security Council condemns attacks in Kabul, denounces terrorism

The United Nations Security Council condemned "in the strongest terms" the terror attack at the Kabul airport Thursday.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured," the council said in a press statement Friday morning.

The council denounced terrorism in all its forms, calling it "one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," and called on all parties to respect and facilitate the safe evacuations of civilians.

U.S. Navy confirms one sailor died in Kabul attack

The U.S. Navy confirms one sailor was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport Thursday.

"We mourn the loss of this Sailor and we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of our fallen shipmate. The name of the Sailor will be released following 24 hours after notification of next of kin," the Navy said in a statement.

China condemns attacks in Kabul

China has condemned the attacks on the Kabul airport.

"China is shocked by the heavy casualties caused by the explosions near Kabul Airport, and China strongly condemns it," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters Friday.

"The incident shows that the security situation in Afghanistan remains complex and severe," Lijian added. "We hope relevant parties will take effective measures to ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan."

German believes 300 of its citizens remain in Afghanistan

About 300 German citizens are believed to still be in Afghanistan after the country ended its evacuation mission Thursday evening.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany is in direct contact with the remaining Germans on ways to support an "organized departure" from Afghanistan.

He added that officials are communicating with the Taliban and others about the possible future civilian use of Kabul Airport to facilitate the departure of endangered Afghans.

The German military flew 5,347 people out of Kabul, including 500 Germans and more than 4,000 Afghans, before ending its operations.

Italy, Spain to end evacuation efforts in Kabul Friday

Italy and Spain will end their respective evacuation operations out of Kabul Friday.

"In the next hours, with the conclusion of the airlift and evacuation of people, we conclude the first phase of emergency," Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

Di Maio said "all Italians who wanted to return to Italy have returned," along with about 4,900 Afghan citizens.

Italy is already working on the "second phase" of operations to "help the Afghan people," Di Maio said.

This plan focuses on protecting civilians, safeguarding human rights, guaranteeing humanitarian aid, fighting terrorism and "efficient management of the migration."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also said Spain will close out its evacuation operations in Kabul Friday.

Over the past 10 days, Spain evacuated a total of 2,206 people, including 1,671 Spaniards or Afghan nationals linked to Spain's work in Afghanistan; 333 who worked for the EU and their relatives; 131 with the United States; 50 linked to NATO's operations and 21 on behalf of Portugal.

Sánchez thanked aid workers and military personnel who "took out the highest quantity of men, women and children in the shortest time possible."

"You make us proud," Sánchez said at a press conference on Friday. "Mission accomplished."

British Defense Secretary promises to 'get to the bottom of' security breach at Kabul embassy

A security lapse saw documents identifying Afghan staff members and job applicants left behind at the abandoned British Embassy in Kabul when the Taliban arrived, it has been found.

Times (London) reporter Anthony Loyd said he found the papers scattered on the ground as he toured Kabul's abandoned diplomatic district earlier this week.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said "clearly it's not good enough" that the documents were left unsecured. "We'll find out and get to the bottom of it," Wallace told radio station LBC.

Pakistan General says country has 'paid the highest price' for Afghanistan war

Asif Ghafoor, Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army, told reporters just now that attacks on Pakistan "continued on both sides of the border" and that "thousands of Pakistanis were martyred" in ongoing fights with the Taliban and other groups.

Whatever the situation in Afghanistan, it has a direct impact on Pakistan. Whether it is peace or war, the situation in Pakistan bears witness to this. Those responsible for the blasts in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Pakistan continue to run affairs from Afghanistan.

Kremlin condemns Kabul airport attack

The Kremlin condemned the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and said the situation continues to be a cause of "grave concern" for Russia.

"We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. Of course, this is very sad news about a large number of casualties," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with journalists.

The "pessimistic predictions" about the threat of attacks from ISIS were "unfortunately" realized, Peskov added.

"Unfortunately, pessimistic predictions are confirmed that terrorist groups, both ISIS and their derivatives, will not fail to take advantage of the chaos in Afghanistan. The danger to all is great. And this continues to be a cause for our grave concern," he said moments ago.

ISIS propaganda pushing 'narrative about Taliban deals with U.S.'

#ISK released a video in which the narrative about #Taliban deals with #US are emphasized. The #IS branch will most likely continue to push this message following the attack against #Kabul airport last night, with aside from PR also gain more regional radical recruits to expand.

— Michael Krona (@GlobalMedia_) August 27, 2021

Spain evacuation mission in Afghanistan ends

The last remaining people are expected to land at the Torrejon military airbase near Madrid later on Friday, the country's Presidency has confirmed.

A statement said two military planes carrying the last 81 Spaniards remaining in Afghanistan - "including military personnel and embassy personnel" - arrived in Dubai from Kabul early on Friday morning local time.

The planes also carried four Portuguese soldiers and 85 Afghans and their families who had worked with NATO countries. It added that the Spanish Armed Forces has "evacuated a total of 1,900, Afghans and their families," who had worked with Spain, other countries, and international bodies.

New Zealand 'weren't able to bring everyone'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is unsure how many people have been left behind or whether they were New Zealand citizens, residents or visa holders.

We went to extraordinary efforts to bring home as many as we could who were either New Zealanders or who had supported New Zealand. But the devastating thing is that we weren't able to bring everyone. And now, we need to look to see what we can do for those who remain.

Both Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison strongly condemned the attacks that took place Thursday. Morrison described them as "evil" and "inhuman".

All German soldiers flown out of Kabul safely

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer confirmed the news just now and thanked soldier during a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where some German forces are now based.

"Your outstanding commitment makes us proud," she said.

U.K. evacuation operation to end in 'matter of hours'

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told reporters earlier that while "not everyone has been able to be evacuated" the operation would end on Friday evening.

Thousands of people eligible for an airlift are still waiting as Tuesday's deadline looms.

ISIS attack death toll climbs to 95

At least 95 Afghans were killed in Thursday's terror attacks, an anonymous official told AP.

The official said the actual death toll is higher because others were involved in evacuating bodies.

Afghan and U.S. officials earlier said the bombings killed at least 60 civilians and 13 U.S. troops - the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Kabul is reeling from the twin bombings at its international airport yesterday - with the death toll continuing to climb - but flights out of Afghanistan have restarted.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Friday for the latest on the attacks and the final phase of evacuation flights.