Pentagon now says there was only ONE explosion in Kabul suicide attack

Pentagon officials said on Friday that there was only one suicide bomber at Kabul airport on Thursday and not two, as was previously claimed, adding to confusion over the attack and fears for the ongoing operation on the ground. 

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: ‘I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel. It was one suicide bomber. In the confusion of very dynamic events can cause information to get confused,’ he said. 

He did not say whether the bomb that went off was  car bomb or bomber in a vest. Both were described on Thursday on the ground and by Washington officials. The Pentagon’s Press Secretary, John Kirby, was among those who confirmed both of the blasts. 

At the same briefing on Friday, Kirby revealed that thousands of terrorists from ISIS-K, the group responsible for the attack at the airport, escaped from Bagram prison earlier this summer after Biden’s troops cleared out from the base in July, leaving it to outnumbered Afghan forces to supervise them.

The prisoners were filmed being freed by the Taliban on August 15.

Thirteen US troops were killed along with 170 Afghans at the airport on Thursday when a single suicide bomber detonated his vest. The first four have been named; Navy medic Max Soviak and Marines Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza and Kareem Nikoui. 

Military experts have pinpointed the sudden, overnight withdrawal of US troops from Bagram on July 2 as the moment the US gave Afghanistan away.   

It adds to confusion and fear over who was responsible for Thursday’s attack and what will now happen to the people left on the ground. 

Since Thursday, the US has only evacuated 300 Americans from Kabul but up to 1,000 remain stranded. The government claims not everyone wants to leave but they can’t get in touch with everyone to check.

General Taylor also revealed on Friday that the US is sharing the names of citizens and Afghan allies with the Taliban, but claims it is so the fighters ensure they can get through to the airport. 

Former President Donald Trump said on Thursday night that it equates to giving them a ‘kill list’ of enemies and where to find them. 

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: 'I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel'. He and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also revealed that the US is giving information to the Taliban of citizens and refugees

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: 'I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel'. He and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also revealed that the US is giving information to the Taliban of citizens and refugees

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: 'I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel'. He and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also revealed that the US is giving information to the Taliban of citizens and refugees

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: ‘I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel’. He and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also revealed that the US is giving information to the Taliban of citizens and refugees 

Kirby also said they could not rule out that the Taliban was involved in Thursday’s attack, saying: ‘ 

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed there were two blasts, tweeting on Thursday: ‘We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties.

‘We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.’ 

The disastrous government rescue mission became even more tragic on Thursday when ISIS bombers targeted the crowds at the airport, slaughtering 170 people with a suicide bomb that also killed 13 US troops. 

It has since emerged that Biden’s administration also gave a list of Afghan allies’ names to the Taliban in the naïve hope they would then help get them out.  Former President Donald Trump called it a ‘kill list’ that all but guaranteed their deaths.  

The US now one of the only nations still evacuating from Kabul amid increasing threats of another ISIS attack. 

Western countries have been scrambling for the last two weeks to get their people out of Afghanistan before the deadline and their missions were hurried even more when President Joe Biden refused to extend it this week. 

AUGUST 15: Prisoners are freed from a prison on Bagram air base by the Taliban. The US left the base on July 2 in the middle of the night and handed it over to Afghan forces

AUGUST 15: Prisoners are freed from a prison on Bagram air base by the Taliban. The US left the base on July 2 in the middle of the night and handed it over to Afghan forces

AUGUST 15: Prisoners are freed from a prison on Bagram air base by the Taliban. The US left the base on July 2 in the middle of the night and handed it over to Afghan forces 

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

U.S soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps in position guarding the at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug 27, 2021

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the suicide bomb, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops, at Kabul airport

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the suicide bomb, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops, at Kabul airport

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the suicide bomb, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops, at Kabul airport

Discarded suitcases and debris outside the gate of the airport where one of the suicide bombs went off on Thursday, killing 170 people

Discarded suitcases and debris outside the gate of the airport where one of the suicide bombs went off on Thursday, killing 170 people

Discarded suitcases and debris outside the gate of the airport where one of the suicide bombs went off on Thursday, killing 170 people

Clothes and blood stains of Afghan people who were waiting to be evacuated are seen at the site of the August 26 suicide bomb

Clothes and blood stains of Afghan people who were waiting to be evacuated are seen at the site of the August 26 suicide bomb

Clothes and blood stains of Afghan people who were waiting to be evacuated are seen at the site of the August 26 suicide bomb

Relatives transport the coffin of one of the victims of the attack away from the airport on Friday morning

Relatives transport the coffin of one of the victims of the attack away from the airport on Friday morning

Relatives transport the coffin of one of the victims of the attack away from the airport on Friday morning

This is the aftermath of Thursday's attack outside Kabul airport. 170 people were killed in the bomb attack and more are imminent, American generals warned

This is the aftermath of Thursday's attack outside Kabul airport. 170 people were killed in the bomb attack and more are imminent, American generals warned

This is the aftermath of Thursday’s attack outside Kabul airport. 170 people were killed in the bomb attack and more are imminent, American generals warned 

RACE TO EVACUATE FROM KABUL 

ONGOING EVACUATIONS 

US 

Russia 

Turkey 

FINISHING FRIDAY

Britain

France 

Denmark 

Spain 

Italy 

ALREADY FINISHED 

Canada

Poland

Holland

Norway

Germany

Australia 

Belgium

Sweden

Hungary 

Thursday’s suicide attacks – which claimed the lives of 13 US troops and 90 Afghans – were the final nail in the coffin for many. 

Britain’s evacuation flights will finish on Friday, despite there being dual nationality citizens still stuck along with some allies. 

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Friday: ‘It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process. 

‘The threat is obviously going to grow the closer we get to leaving. 

‘The narrative is always going to be, as we leave, certain groups such as ISIS will want to stake a claim that they have driven out the U.S. or the UK.’ 

Canada has also halted flights, leaving some citizens behind.

‘The government of Canada recognizes that there are a number of people in Afghanistan, including Canadian citizens, permanent residents, their families, and applicants under programs for Afghans, a government notice sent out last night, that was obtained by CBC News, said.

Gen. Wayne Eyre, the acting chief of the defense staff, said most of the Canadian personnel still in the country left but a small contingent stayed behind to support allies on the ground who have no hope of getting out. 

Biden – who crumbled under questioning on Thursday night when confronted with the airport attack death toll – refused to push back the deadline to give allied countries more time to get their people out. 

‘It is in our interest to leave on time, on target,’ Biden said on Thursday night. 

The US is relying on the Taliban’s cooperation to let people through to the airport. 

U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the airport’s outer perimeter.

The move was described as a gross security lapse, with one defense source telling Politico: ‘Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list.’

Trump told Fox News: ‘Now we’re giving lists of Americans to the Taliban so now you just knock on the door and grab them and take them out…

‘What you are watching now is only going to get worse, it can only go one way.’

‘We look like fools all over the world. We are weak, we are pathetic, we are being led by people that have no idea what they are doing,’ he added.

Only US citizens and visa holders are being removed, and in the next few days, the focus will turn to removing troops and equipment.  

Afghan refugees arriving at the Rota Air Base in Spain on Friday. The airbase is shared by American and Spanish military forces

Afghan refugees arriving at the Rota Air Base in Spain on Friday. The airbase is shared by American and Spanish military forces

Afghan refugees arriving at the Rota Air Base in Spain on Friday. The airbase is shared by American and Spanish military forces 

President Joe Biden crumbled on Thursday night as he took questions from reporters about the suicide bomb attacks

President Joe Biden crumbled on Thursday night as he took questions from reporters about the suicide bomb attacks

President Joe Biden crumbled on Thursday night as he took questions from reporters about the suicide bomb attacks 

British soldiers secure the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The last British flights will leave today

British soldiers secure the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The last British flights will leave today

British soldiers secure the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The last British flights will leave today 

On Thursday, General Kenneth McKenzie, the commanding general on the ground, said he expected more bomb attacks at the airport, but that the mission would continue despite the threat. 

President Biden has been widely condemned for creating the crowds at the airport that ISIS attacked by failing to get everyone out of the region before withdrawing his troops abruptly earlier this year. 

It took just 11 days for the Taliban to sweep through the country that the US maintained peace in for nearly 20 years. 

Thousands of men, women and children are still trying to flee the Taliban, but their hopes are fading fast as the US and its allies are packing up their rescue operations ahead of the Tuesday deadline.

People are still pouring into the canal which surrounds the perimeter of the airport, standing in waters which were yesterday filled with the blood of scores of people after a bomb tore through the crowd.

Footage from the ground revealed a scene of utter despair, with shouts and cries among the Afghans, some seen clambering up walls out of the canal and others wading through with luggage atop their heads.

In one location, dozens of Taliban members with heavy weapons about 500 yards from the airport were preventing anyone from venturing forward. 

US special forces vets launch mission to get Afghan allies out amid Biden’s chaotic withdrawal

As the US fumbles to get the remaining citizens out, a group of American war veterans in Kabul are secretly saving hundreds of Afghan Special Forces troops and their families who helped them in the war but have now been left for dead as the US withdraws from Afghanistan. 

The group of special op soldiers includes retired Green Berets and SEAL Team commanders who launched the mission, which they are calling Pineapple Express, after one of the Afghan commandos they served with contacted them to say he was on the run from the Taliban. His visa had not been approved when the Taliban took over on August 14 and thousands ran for the airport. 

The special ops soldiers first devised a system with US troops at the airport where they sent their comrades to a gate and told them to identify themselves with the password ‘pineapple’ to be put on a plane by the Marines on the ground. Some also showed the troops pictures of pineapples on their phones. 

After successfully getting hundreds through that way, the special ops teams started going into Kabul, behind enemy lines, to rescue more of their comrades and their families in the cover of darkness.   

A group of volunteer Afghanistan veterans smuggled into Kabul this week to save hundreds of Afghan Special Forces troops and their families by getting them to the airport to be put on flights out of the city. The men made their own way into Kabul after watching the bungled evacuation from afar. The ad-hoc group have been able to get more than 600 vulnerable Afghans to the airport to be put on flights

A group of volunteer Afghanistan veterans smuggled into Kabul this week to save hundreds of Afghan Special Forces troops and their families by getting them to the airport to be put on flights out of the city. The men made their own way into Kabul after watching the bungled evacuation from afar. The ad-hoc group have been able to get more than 600 vulnerable Afghans to the airport to be put on flights

A group of volunteer Afghanistan veterans smuggled into Kabul this week to save hundreds of Afghan Special Forces troops and their families by getting them to the airport to be put on flights out of the city. The men made their own way into Kabul after watching the bungled evacuation from afar. The ad-hoc group have been able to get more than 600 vulnerable Afghans to the airport to be put on flights

It’s unclear how long they have been in Afghanistan and how they got there but some of those involved spoke to ABC News about the mission on Friday, explaining they simply could not leave their comrades behind.  

‘I just want to get my people out,’ said one of the retired troops involved while another said the Afghan allies they were saving had a prouder sense of Democracy than some Americans. 

 Their astonishingly courageous efforts have saved hundreds while Biden and his team have bungled the evacuation mission by haphazardly telling some US citizens and allies to go to the airport while rejecting visas for others and leaving any Americans to fend for themselves. They are one of several ad-hoc volunteer groups on the ground that are frantically trying to save people before time runs out. 

Some of the Afghans being helped by Pineapple Express were injured in yesterday’s suicide bomb attack but it’s unclear if any were killed. The US has just four days to get as many s 1,000 Americans out plus another 5,000 Afghans who helped in the war.  

‘He was not willing to let his father and his brother behind; even it meant he would die. He refused to leave his family. Leaving a man behind is not in our SEAL ethos. Many Afghans have a stronger vision of our democratic values than many Americans do.’ 

Retired SEAL Commander Dan O’Shea, part of Pineapple Express mission 

General Kenneth McKenzie, who is running the US operation on the ground in Kabul, warned on Thursday that another ISIS attack – specifically a car bomb similar to one used on Thursday – was imminent. 

The death toll from the attack at the airport is now 170. Thirteen US troops were killed, the first American lives lost since the evacuation carnage began on August 14.

All evacuation flights must stop by Tuesday night and the US must start putting troops and equipment on the planes soon. 

It leaves a tiny window of opportunity for thousands of people who want to flee to get out, diminishing the hope of many Afghans who have not been given special interest visas and must now make a run for the border in Pakistan or stay and live under Taliban rule.   

One of the veterans who took part in the Pineapple Express mission was a retired Green Beret known as ‘Lawrence of Afghanistan’.  

‘I have been involved in some of the most incredible missions and operations that a special forces guy could be a part of, and I have never been a part of anything more incredible than this. 

Afghan refugees are pictured on one of the flights out of Kabul after being escorted to the airport by a group of volunteer special ops veterans

Afghan refugees are pictured on one of the flights out of Kabul after being escorted to the airport by a group of volunteer special ops veterans

Afghan refugees are pictured on one of the flights out of Kabul after being escorted to the airport by a group of volunteer special ops veterans

‘The bravery and courage and commitment of my brothers and sisters in the Pineapple community was greater than the U.S. commitment on the battlefield. I just want to get my people out,’ he told ABC News 

Retired SEAL Commander Dan O’Shea accompanied a U.S. citizen, who served as an operative, and his Afghan father and his father on foot. 

‘He was not willing to let his father and his brother behind; even it meant he would die. He refused to leave his family.

‘Leaving a man behind is not in our SEAL ethos. Many Afghans have a stronger vision of our democratic values than many Americans do.’ 

Before Thursday’s attack, another 130 were smuggled to the airport to be put on flights.

‘Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom,’ Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret commander, told ABC.   

 

Desperate enough to risk their lives: Afghans trying to flee Kabul return to fetid canal where suicide bomber blew himself just the day before, in almost hopeless attempt to get on one of the last planes out 

Desperate Afghans trying to flee Kabul have returned to the fetid canal outside the airport where a suicide bomber blew himself up as the final hours of evacuation tick down.

Flights resumed with new urgency on Friday, a day after a double suicide bombing killed at least 103 people, including 13 U.S. service personnel. 

Thousands of men, women and children are still trying to flee the Taliban, but their hopes are fading fast as the US and its allies are packing up their rescue operations ahead of the Tuesday deadline.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today that the ‘gates were closed’ and that the UK’s final evacuation flights would end within hours.

He said soldiers would try to ‘find a few people in the crowds’ but admitted that not everyone will be flown out to safety.

Wallace estimated around 1,100 Afghans eligible for evacuation would be left behind by the UK, while up to 150 Britons would not be flown home.

Washington said on Thursday that more than 100,000 people had been safely evacuated from Kabul, but that as many as 1,000 U.S. citizens are still struggling to leave.

Crowds pack into the open sewer which runs around the airport perimeter just hours after it was the scene of carnage when a suicide bomber blew himself up

Crowds pack into the open sewer which runs around the airport perimeter just hours after it was the scene of carnage when a suicide bomber blew himself up

The scene of carnage after a suicide bomber blew himself up on Thursday

The scene of carnage after a suicide bomber blew himself up on Thursday

TODAY and YESTERDAY: Crowds pack into the open sewer which runs around the airport perimeter (left) just hours after it was the scene of carnage when a suicide bomber blew himself up 

Afghans desperate to flee the country returned to the fetid canal which runs the perimeter of Kabul airport

Afghans desperate to flee the country returned to the fetid canal which runs the perimeter of Kabul airport

Afghans desperate to flee the country returned to the fetid canal which runs the perimeter of Kabul airport

Afghans desperate to flee the country returned to the fetid canal which runs the perimeter of Kabul airport

Afghans desperate to flee the country returned to the fetid canal which runs the perimeter of Kabul airport

Joe Biden promised to ‘rescue the Americans, we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on.’

But as the crowd becomes more frantic as the deadline looms, so too does the risk of a further terror attack.

Wallace said: ‘The threat is obviously going to grow the closer we get to leaving. The narrative is always going to be, as we leave, certain groups such as ISIS will want to stake a claim that they have driven out the U.S. or the UK.’  

People are still pouring into the canal which surrounds the perimeter of the airport, standing in waters which were yesterday filled with the blood of scores of people after a bomb tore through the crowd.

Footage from the ground revealed a scene of utter despair, with shouts and cries among the Afghans, some seen clambering up walls out of the canal and others wading through with luggage atop their heads.

Taliban fighters stand guard as they block the road to Kabul airport on Friday, a day after the deadly blasts

Taliban fighters stand guard as they block the road to Kabul airport on Friday, a day after the deadly blasts

Taliban fighters stand guard as they block the road to Kabul airport on Friday, a day after the deadly blasts

In one location, dozens of Taliban members with heavy weapons about 500 yards from the airport were preventing anyone from venturing forward. 

Crowds of people gathered at Kabul’s Emergency Hospital to collect the bodies of loved ones after the bombings outside the airport. 

A boy sobbed in the back of a car, squeezed beside the coffin of a relative killed in the devastating blasts that quickly overwhelmed the city’s hospitals. 

Bowing his reddened face between his crossed arms and wiping away tears with his scarf, the youngster stared down at the plywood box, wrapped shut with a white sheet.

Another Afghan, Abdul Majeed, came to the clinic to look for his brother, an 11th-grade student who was at the airport with no documents or papers, desperate to escape the ‘troubles’ of his home country.

‘He wanted to fly abroad,’ Majeed told AFP.

‘Unfortunately, he’s missing after the back-to-back blasts.’ 

Majeed said overnight he saw hundreds of people, dead and alive, brought to the hospital, a major trauma clinic.

‘I saw every one with my own eyes. My brother was not among them,’ he said.

‘Since yesterday, I have searched all the hospitals in Kabul but I have failed to find him.’

Majeed said his younger brother was a talented student, but ‘such an atmosphere has been developed in Afghanistan that everyone wants to go abroad, and that’s because of the troubles here.’

Others also came on foot, exhausted after a sleepless night, to sit in groups on the pavement outside the walls of the medical centre, waiting for news from within.

One man emerged from the gates clutching his mobile phone, showing a picture to those gathered outside of a loved one receiving treatment.

The bomb victim is lying in a bed, his eyes closed and face bandaged.

In a tweet on Friday, the hospital said the ‘situation is still quite critical’.

‘Our three operating theatres in the hospital have been working all night long – the last surgery was at 4am.’

‘We have people in intensive care, in sub-intensive care.’ 

The bombings on Thursday marked the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since August 2011. 

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