Kabul airport explosions: what happened in Afghanistan capital - as dozens killed in ISIS suicide bombings

The reports of an explosion come after security services warned of a potential imminent terror threat

Dozens of people have been killed and injured, including children, following a series of attacks by ISIS militants at Kabul Airport, where frantic evacuation efforts have been underway following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Senior US military sources have confirmed that an attack took place at about 6pm local time involving at least two explosions and gunfire at Hamid Karzai Airport, near sites which are being used to process evacuation by Western nations, including the UK.

There are unconfirmed reports of at least 60 people dead and hundreds injured, including children and US military personnel.

The number of dead is yet to be confirmed, though it is at least 13 and likely significantly more, with reports of at least 60 injured people being treated at a nearby hospital.

There have been warnings of further attacks, and at time of writing another large explosion has been reported.

What happened at Kabul airport?

Hamid Karzai Airport in the Afghani capital has been at the centre of international evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, since the takeover of the country by the Taliban in recent weeks.

There have been chaotic scenes at the airport as thousands of people try to escape the country.

Many have worked with the previous government, assisted western forces or are otherwise at risk from the new Taliban regime.

The UK government and other security services warned on Wednesday that anyone near Kabul airport should leave the area because of an imminent terrorist threat.

Today, an unknown number of combatants carried out a “complex attack” at the airport, involving at least two explosions, with at least one of those followed by shootings.

Gen Kenneth McKenzie of US Central Command said two suicide bombers who were "assessed to have been Isis (Islamic State) fighters" had targeted the airport and a nearby hotel.

"The attack on Abbey Gate was followed by a number of Isis gunmen who opened fire on civilians and military forces," he said. "At this time, we know that 12 US service members have been killed in the attack."

It is likely that the attack was carried out by a specific branch of ISIS based in Afghanistan known as ISIS-K.

There have been reports of up to five explosions in total in Kabul, though beyond the first two explosions few details have been confirmed.

Tory MP Nus Ghani said she was on the phone to somebody outside Kabul airport when the explosion happened.

The Wealden MP tweeted: “Explosion at Kabul airport. I was on the phone to an Afghan outside the airport when he heard the explosion.

“Praying that he gets away safely and we get his family safe passage out of this nightmare.”

Where did the explosions take place?

These attacks took place in areas which are full of fleeing civilians and being used by western forces to coordinate evacuation efforts.

It is thought that the Baron Hotel was targeted first, which is being used by UK officials to house and process British citizens and others trying to flee to the UK.

Shortly afterwards, there was an explosion at the airport’s Abbey Gate, which is the entrance used by US, UK and other western forces.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said: “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.”

Both the AFP news agency and BBC have reported a third and fourth explosion at about 11pm local time, with no further details confirmed.

Were the attacks predicted?

Armed forces minister James Heappey warned on Thursday that there was “very credible reporting” of an “imminent” and “severe” threat to Kabul airport.

Mr Heappey called on those queuing outside the airport to move to safety amid concerns over an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State in Afghanistan, known as Isis-K.

He said Britain has 11 flights scheduled out of Kabul on Thursday but declined to say whether that will be the end of the operation, citing the security of troops on the ground

Boris Johnson has vowed to continue the evacuation effort in Afghanistan following a “barbaric” terrorist attack at Kabul airport which left multiple people dead including US troops in at least two explosions.

The Prime Minister said on Thursday the “overwhelming majority” of eligible people have already been helped to flee the Taliban by the RAF and “we are going to keep going up until the last moment” as the deadline rapidly approaches.

This is a breaking story, we will update this article with further information as it becomes available

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