One of the two deadly blasts near Kabul’s airport Thursday happened near a hotel that has been used to process Afghans attempting to flee the Taliban’s oppressive regime.
The explosion occurred less than one mile from the airport at or near the 160-room Baron Hotel, the Pentagon said.
The US and other allied countries had urged Afghans to leave the area due to a threat by ISIS militants before the first explosion near the airport’s Abbey Gate, followed by the second attack at the hotel.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 13 people, but US officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, was behind the bombings, a source told Reuters.
What is the significance of the hotel?
The Baron Hotel has been a key site in the effort to evacuate Britons, Americans, and eligible Afghan citizens who have worked for British organizations.
British diplomatic staffers have been using the hotel to process hundreds of visa applications every hour, as crowds of people desperate to flee gathered outside of the entrance, the Guardian reported.
The hotel’s website described the compound as “one of the most prestigious secured lodging projects in Kabul.”
What security features does the hotel have?
The hotel features a 13-foot-high perimeter wall and five guard towers, as well as security provided by a private company from the US.
It is situated near Camp Sullivan, which is a self-contained facility for the local guard force that provides protection to all official US facilities in the capital city, the Independent reported.
Thursday’s explosion was another setback to the chaotic evacuation efforts, which have been underway since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on Aug. 15.
The US has been racing to complete its airlift before its military is set to fully withdraw from the country on Aug. 31.
With Post wires