‘I know it’s dangerous but I’ll go back to the airport’

At least 85 people were killed in an explosion outside Kabul airport on August 26, where thousands of desperate Afghans hoping to flee the country after the Taliban took power had been gathering for more than a week. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Jowharspoke with a witness to the blast, who said that despite the risk, he intends to return to the airport in an attempt to be evacuated.

Wheelbarrow victims, injured children and disoriented crowds: Videos and photos taken just after the explosion outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 26 show the violence and chaos caused by the attack.

Images taken on August 26 by Jowharcorrespondents in Kabul and witness to the attacks.

‘I heard a big bang. Five or six hours later, I still don’t hear very well. ‘

H, a Franco-Afghan, was in the crowd in front of the airport when the attack took place and sent these videos to the JowharObservers team. Jowharspoke to H on the night of August 26. We have decided not to publish your full name for security reasons.

He was outside the Kabul airport, he was waiting in front of the entrance. There were many of us, I would say at least 10,000 people in front of this entrance. And at one point I heard a huge explosion. I can tell you that five or six hours later, I still don’t hear very well.

There were women, children, the elderly, vulnerable people. It was horrible, a total nightmare. He didn’t expect an attack like this at all; If I had known it was going to happen, I would never have gone to the airport.

I’ll go back to the airport. I know it is dangerous but I am already in danger and I have no other solution. [to leave Afghanistan]So I have to go back, that’s for sure.

The risk of further attacks near the airport remains high, according to US officials. British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the morning before the attacks that there was “very credible” evidence of an “imminent” terrorist attack at the airport.

The explosion occurred on the afternoon of August 26 at Abbey Gate, on the east side of the airport.

US security forces initially believed that there had been two attacks.

“Two suicide bombers, considered to be ISIS fighters, detonated in the vicinity of Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and in the vicinity of the Baron Hotel, which is immediately adjacent,” said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the United States Central Command. . at a press conference on August 26. “The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by several ISIS gunmen who opened fire on civilians and military forces.”

On Friday, however, a US military official told a Pentagon briefing that there had been no second explosion at the Baron Hotel.

The Kabul bombing killed at least 85 people, including 13 US servicemen. “We will hunt them down and make them pay,” said US President Joe Biden, addressing the extremist group Islamic State, in a speech on August 26.

The United States has pledged to complete the evacuation of its Afghan citizens and allies by Aug. 31, and evacuation flights resumed with new urgency on Friday. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that France would not be able to continue its evacuations on Friday night, saying that 2,500 people, French and Afghans, had already been evacuated since the capture of Kabul on August 15.

>> Read more at The Observers: Gunfire and barbed wire prevent Afghans from reaching Kabul airport

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