At least 95 people have been killed including 13 US troops as of Thursday night.
At around 5pm Thursday, it was reported that 60+ wounded individuals were transported to the nearby emergency hospital. Senior hospital staff confirmed that dozens of the wounded were dead on arrival.
The US has since blamed the Taliban for not implementing proper road searches, with Biden further stating “to those who carried out these attacks, know this: we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
In the past weeks, Kabul Airport has been extremely busy, with foreign troops wrapping up and extracting their assets, and desperate Afghans looking to flee the uncertain future ahead of them, in a country where their horrors were becoming very much real. This increase in human traffic has made the airport a major target for possible terror attacks.
Troops in the airport reported the explosions were caused by two suicide bombers, however, the Taliban have since pointed at ISIK – a chapter of ISIS. ISIK is a group of individuals who belonged to the Taliban and became disillusioned with its goals and decentralised nature, they became allied with Daesh and established the Khorasan wing of ISIL. As with all things ISIS, they seek to recreate the ancient kingdom of Khorasan encompassing Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Ideologically the Taliban and ISIK are not entirely different, yet they denounce each other as both parties want control of the region. The difference here being that ISIK does not have a significant influence on Kabul. The Taliban has denounced ISIS with the advent of their new government, distancing themselves from all the factors that had originally drawn imperial powers to the region.
However, on a local level, their relationship with ISIK is more ambiguous, there were instances where both groups have worked in unison. These recent ISIK attacks were perhaps carried out to send a message to the Taliban that they are still regional players.
In the last week the Taliban has released prisoners from several jails that were under US control, including a high security facility in Kandahar which hosted ISIL fighters and another site in Kabul hosting Al Qaeda and ISIL fighters, who were valuable assets to Daesh.
During the blast incident, as a method of crowd control in the aftermath, the Taliban fired several rounds into the crowd and caused more casualties, confusion and chaos. They are also reportedly patrolling the areas around medical and emergency centres, checking all entrants and those who exit. Whether it is for peacekeeping reasons, to appease the populace, or to catch the potential ISIK collaborators remains to be seen.
There’s an ongoing narrative and discussion in many news outlets that this incident serves to ground the US troops in the region. However, it has now been confirmed yet again by the US Press Secretary that they are very much set to leave.
The reality is, world leaders look to do no more than release void statements and extend empty condolences to the victims of the blast. The UK remains to extract another thousand individuals on its vulnerable list of target citizens. These are mostly comprised of translators whose subsequent torture and intimidation under the Taliban would pose a UK security risk. Other than looking out for its own interests, Westminster stands still in the horror it has helped create.
Sumaya Hassan, is a member of the YCL’s London branch