Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed Thursday that “a number” of U.S. service members were killed by at least two bomb attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a “number” of others are being treated for wounds.
“We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds,” Kirby said.
“We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack,” he added. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured,” he added.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. ambassador in Kabul told staff that at least four Marines were killed in the explosion and three wounded.
The U.S. ambassador in Kabul has told staff there that four U.S. Marines were killed in the explosion earlier at the airport and three wounded, a U.S. official with knowledge of the briefing said https://t.co/tOU4iSCcji
— Catherine Lucey (@catherine_lucey) August 26, 2021
Two infantry Marine battalions had been sent to Kabul to secure the airport and help evacuate U.S. embassy staff, after the Taliban took over the country unexpectedly on August 14.
President Joe Biden had ordered a U.S. military withdrawal of all U.S. troops by August 31, but the U.S.-backed government collapsed much sooner. The Biden administration has said that no one had predicted that outcome.
After the collapse of the government, Biden ordered 6,000 U.S. troops — the two Marine battalions and about 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division — to deploy to Afghanistan in order to secure the airport and conduct the evacuation of U.S. staff but also tens of thousands of Afghans.