Kabul Blasts Came Despite Taliban Assurances Afghan Soil Wouldn't Be Used in Any Attacks

At least two explosions erupted in Kabul on Thursday morning, despite multiple assurances from the Taliban that it would not allow Afghanistan's soil to be used in attacks against anyone.

Reuters reported that the attack was suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers and that at least 13 people were killed in the blasts. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Western officials had warned that ISIS-K militants could be planning attacks. The Islamic State militant group, or ISIS, is opposed to both the U.S. and the Taliban.

During an August 17 press conference and in recent interviews, Taliban officials vowed that the new government would not allow such attacks to take place moving forward. Top Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who is expected to become a minister in the new Afghan government, had told the public that its security would be protected by the Taliban.

"I would like to assure the international community, including the United States that nobody will be harmed in Afghanistan," Mujahid said during the press conference earlier this month.

"I would like to assure our neighbors, regional countries, we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody, any country in the world. So the whole global community should be assured that we are committed to these pledges that you will not be harmed in any way from our soil," he said.

Taliban spokesperson
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid looks on during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 24, after the Taliban's takeover of the country. HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Mujahid made a similar statement to NBC News. "Now we have given promises that Afghan soil won't be used against anyone," he vowed.

Earlier this week, Taliban official Abdul Qahar Balkhi told Newsweek that the Taliban's "policy remains that we will not allow anyone to threaten the security of others from our soil and neither will we allow others to interfere in our own internal affairs."

After Thursday morning's two explosions in Kabul, Mujahid wrote on Twitter that the Taliban "strongly condemns the bombing of civilians" at the airport.

The Pentagon said Thursday that U.S. personnel were among those injured in the blast outside the city's airport. Video from the scene uploaded online by local journalists showed piles of blood-soaked bodies.

"We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of U.S. and civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby tweeted.

The explosions came as the U.S. continues to rapidly evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan nationals after the Taliban regained control of the country. More than 82,000 people have already been evacuated since the Taliban retook near-total control of Afghanistan on August 15. The U.S. military has maintained control of Kabul's international airport to complete evacuations by August 31.

The administration of former President Donald Trump signed a February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country. That initial agreement would have pulled out all U.S. troops by May 1 of this year.

President Joe Biden pushed the deadline back to September 11 after he took office, then moved it forward to August 31. But the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan two weeks before that date.