The US ambassador to Afghanistan insisted there were still “safe” ways to get to the Kabul airport Thursday, just hours before two deadly explosions.
Ambassador Ross Wilson acknowledged that there were “imminent” and “credible” threats to the area, but said it was still possible to travel to Hamid Karzai International Airport to evacuate.
“There are safe ways to relatively safe ways to access the airport, and we’re doing everything we can to facilitate that,” Wilson said on “Good Morning America.”
He said officials were working on an “individualized basis to assist in getting to the airport in a safe and secure manner.”
Wilson declined to provide more details about the security threat, but suggested that the crowds could be dangerous as throngs of people desperate to leave following the Taliban takeover gathered at the airport.
“Being part of these huge crowds that convene around the gates and entrances to the airport is dangerous. We’re obviously concerned about roaming people as well,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s reassurances came despite the US Embassy in Kabul advising Americans not to travel to the airport Wednesday.
Those already at the airport’s Abbey Gate, East Gate and North Gate were advised to leave immediately.
The following day, suspected suicide bombers targeted the airport’s Abbey Gate, the Pentagon said.
The explosion was followed by another blast less than a mile away near the Baron Hotel, officials said.
At least 12 US service members have been killed and another 15 injured in the two suicide bombing attacks outside Kabul airport Thursday, according to reports. Fox News reported the grim new body count, which came after officials said four Marines were killed. Initial estimates vary, but an Afghan health official told the New York Times that at least 40 had been killed and 120 injured.
US officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan, was behind the attacks, a source familiar with US congressional briefings said.
With Post wires