The UK last night plotted the elimination of Isis-K leaders responsible for the atrocity in Kabul when it emerged that two British citizens and the child of another Briton were among at least 170 dead in the attack.
Ministers said they were ready to “take action” to counter the terror threat as the death toll continued to rise after the suicide bombing that marked the largest loss of US troops in Afghanistan in a decade.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the deaths of two British adults and injuries of two others. It is known that the child who died was a teenager.
Mr Raab said: ‘These were innocent people and it is a tragedy that when they tried to bring their loved ones to safety in the UK they were killed by cowardly terrorists.
“Yesterday’s despicable attack underscores the dangers people face in Afghanistan and confirms why we are doing everything we can to get people out. We provide consular support to their families.
“We will not turn our backs on those who look to us in their hour of need and we will never be intimidated by terrorists.”
The UK last night plotted the elimination of Isis-K leaders responsible for the atrocity in Kabul when it emerged that two British citizens and the child of another Briton were among at least 170 dead in the attack
Ministers said they were ready to “take action” to counter the terror threat as the death toll continued to rise after the suicide bombing that marked the largest loss of US troops in Afghanistan in a decade. Above: the aftermath of the blast
Papers left in embassy endanger Afghan allies
The defense secretary has expressed anger at Foreign Office staff who left documents identifying vulnerable Afghans at the British embassy.
Ben Wallace said the security flaw was “obviously not good enough” as details of those who had worked with Britain were free for the Taliban to find.
Speaking to LBC yesterday, he added that the prime minister would “ask some questions” about not destroying the potentially life-threatening information.
And Tom Tugendhat, Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the debacle would be part of an upcoming Commons investigation with “evidence already coming in.”
The gaffe arose when Anthony Loyd, a reporter for The Times, came across the documents while accompanying a Taliban patrol.
Papers scattered around a barbecue were found to identify seven Afghans, including a high-ranking ambassador.
They also revealed the details of two people applying for the job.
Some staff members had already been evacuated to the UK, The Times found when reporters called the numbers listed. But the fate of at least two applicants remains unknown.
The State Department said “everything has been done to destroy sensitive material.”
Heartbreaking tributes began to appear last night for those named among the dead. Boris Johnson called the attack “despicable”, while Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “incredibly sad” to learn that British citizens had lost their lives.
He added: ‘You shouldn’t cost your life to get your family to safety. We urgently need to help those left behind to prevent more tragic deaths.”
Yesterday it emerged that the fatalities were the result of a single suicide attack rather than two explosions as previously believed.
An Isis-K terrorist is said to have detonated a suicide vest in the midst of families waiting for evacuation flights near an airport sewer duct.
Afghans were still desperate to escape yesterday as the clock ticked on evacuation efforts with hundreds queuing at the sewer canal where the bodies lay just hours earlier.
Among the dead was Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who had traveled from London to get his family to the airport, the BBC said.
Last night his youngest child, oldest daughter and wife were still missing.
His brother Abdul Hamid, who survived, said: ‘I saw some small children in the river [canal]. It was so bad. It was doomsday.’
It is not thought that Mr Niazi was one of the British fatalities reported by the Foreign Office. At least 13 U.S. servicemen were killed in the attack, including Ohio naval physician Max Soviak, who was in his early 20s.
Yesterday, his sister Marilyn described him as a “beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drumming, annoying, charming little brother.”
She added: “He was just a kid. He was a *** doctor. There to help people. And now he’s gone and my family will never be the same.”
His former school said he was “well respected and loved by all who knew him.”
Three U.S. Marines killed in the attack yesterday were named as Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza and Kareem Nikoui.
Yesterday, Mr. Nikoui’s father, Steve, of California, expressed anger that his son had been sent to Afghanistan as a “paper pusher” with the Taliban “providing security.”
He insisted, “I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him.” Mr. McCollum, of Wyoming, graduated from high school in 2019 before joining the Marine Corps
Among the dead was Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who had traveled from London to get his family to the airport, the BBC said. Last night his youngest child, oldest daughter and wife were still missing. Right: One of Mr. Niazi .’s daughters
Facebook pages that appear to belong to him and his wife show wedding photos from May and indicate that the couple was expecting a child.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon wrote on Twitter: “I am devastated to hear that Wyoming lost one of our own people in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rylee McCollum’s family and friends.”
Espinoza, 20, was named by police in Laredo, Texas, where he was born.
The names of three other young fallen Marines also appeared on Facebook last night.
Tributes were paid to Hunter Lopez, 22, of California, Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover of Utah, and Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20, of Missouri.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain was ready to attack IS fighters in Afghanistan after the group claimed responsibility for the terror attack.
The splinter group Isis-K is named after the Khorasan province, a historical part of eastern Afghanistan. Members view the Taliban as moderates.
Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We are already on a mission to tackle Isis, whether they are in Iraq, Syria or anywhere else where they pose an immediate threat to British citizens and even that country’s interests,’ or where we operate for mutual self-defense.
At least 13 U.S. servicemen were killed in the attack, including Ohio naval doctor Max Soviak (pictured), who was in his early 20s.
Marine Rylee McCollum was one of the other US troops killed in the blast
Jared Schmitz (left) and David Lee Espinoza, 20 (right) both lost their lives too
“If, as it clearly does, ISIS poses an immediate threat to the UK and its people, then under international law we have the right to take action and we will take action where we see that threat emerging – and we have the opportunity.” to do That.’
Wallace refused to get caught up in the sort of action, but insisted the UK had the “capacities” to deal with terror threats.
He later suggested that the armed forces could attack the leadership of Isis-K in hopes of eliminating the threat from lower fighters.
He told Times Radio, “There are many methods of finding out who is in charge.”
Referring to the mission to track down an Islamic State leader in northwestern Syria in 2019, he added: “If you remember that the United States raided and killed Al Baghdadi, the leader of Isis. It is possible to find Isis leadership all over the world.”
Joe Biden previously vowed to “track down” the people behind the suicide bombing and “make them pay.”
Last night, the US president’s security team warned that another terror attack was ‘probable’ in Kabul.
The UK’s ability to handle any more evacuations from Afghanistan is now “extremely diminished,” the Ministry of Defense warned last night.
It said 14,543 people have been removed from Kabul since Aug. 13, including 8,000 Afghans and their families under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy program.