12 U.S. Service Members Dead, 15 Others Injured in Kabul Attack, Pentagon Says

Twelve U.S. service members are dead and 15 others injured after the bombing attack outside Kabul, Afghanistan's airport, the Pentagon said during a briefing Thursday afternoon.

"A number of Afghan civilians were also killed and injured in the attack," General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the United States Central Command, said. Afghan civilians have been taken to hospitals for treatment.

"We're still working to calculate the total losses. We just don't know what that is right now," McKenzie said.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby tweeted earlier that a number of others are being treated from injuries and that "a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack."

A "complex" attack resulted in the morning explosion, resulting in both U.S. and civilian casualties, Kirby said earlier in the day, without providing a number because it wasn't known yet.

Earlier on Thursday, he reported that the explosion occurred outside the airport's Abbey Gate. Kirby also said that at least one other explosion happened at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from the Abbey Gate.

The Associated Press said the Russian Foreign Ministry reported the first casualty count: 13 dead and 15 injured. An Italian charity called Emergency, which runs hospitals in Afghanistan, reported that it received 60 injured patients and 10 who were dead when they came in.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen targeted the crowd of people near the airport, according to the AP.

A U.S. official told the AP on condition of anonymity that the attack was "definitely believed" to have been caused by the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS.

We can confirm that the explosion near the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport has resulted in an unknown number of casualties. We will continue to update.

— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021

Kirby also said earlier Thursday morning that evacuations "will not be wrapping up" in 36 hours, but he confirmed that American troops are evacuating as many people as they can until the end of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

The White House said that around 13,400 people were evacuated from Afghanistan between Wednesday and Thursday. The figure includes 17 U.S. military flights evacuating from Kabul about 5,100 people and 74 coalition aircraft evacuating about 8,300.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan told citizens to avoid going to Kabul's airport area "because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport."

The explosion came amid concerns about a threatened attack from ISIS targeting large crowds around the airport, which could affect the Biden administration's efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.

Numerous Afghans have been trying to flee the country since the Taliban took over the nation. Some continue to gather at Kabul's airport, hoping to get on a flight, despite the announced threats.

Updated (August 26, 1:35 p.m. ET): This story was updated with more information on the casualties from the explosion outside Kabul's airport.

Explosion at Afghanistan's Kabul airport
The Pentagon says 12 U.S. service members are dead and 15 others injured after an explosion Thursday morning outside Afghanistan's Kabul airport. Above, U.S. paratroopers assist in the evacuation of noncombatants at the airport on August 21. Photo by U.S. Army via Getty Images