World leaders have been condemning the “cowardly” attacks by “despicable” perpetrators that
claimed multiple lives
and left scores injured around Kabul airport on Thursday.
The Daesh-Khorasan* terrorist group (banned in Russia) claimed responsibility for the spate of explosions amid the massive evacuation effort underway by the Western military contingent. As many as 60 people died and 1,338 people sustained injuries in the series of terrorist attacks targeting Kabul airport and its outskirts, a source in the Afghan Ministry of Health told Sputnik on Friday.
REUTERS / ASVAKA NEWS
Approximately 72 civilians were killed in the first twin blasts -near the airport’s Abbey gate and near the Baron Hotel – a hospital source and a Taliban official in the Afghan capital said on Friday. At least 13 US soldiers also died and 15 were injured, Gen. Frank McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, confirmed in a press briefing.
Russia Slams ‘Plague’ of Terrorism
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has expressed condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the terror attack in Kabul, stressing that the only way to defeat terrorism was through concerted efforts.
“I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. And wish all the injured a speedy recovery… There is no place on Earth for such an evil as terrorism. Only through joint efforts can we defeat it. It is necessary to redouble international interaction to free mankind from this plague,” he
was quoted as saying by the diplomatic mission’s Facebook page.
Four Russian military planes evacuated Russian and other nationals from Kabul on Wednesday on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was cited by UK media as
the “despicable” perpetrators of the attack in Kabul.
“We extend our condolences both to the United States of America and the people of Afghanistan,” Johnson was cited by The Guardian as saying after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee.
He added that the UK will continue its evacuation plan “up until the last moment”.
“I think [these attacks] are despicable, but I’m afraid that this is something we have had to prepare for. It isn’t going to interrupt our progress, we are going to get on with our evacuation,” he later added.
France Vows to ‘Work With Allies’
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that France would coordinate efforts together with its “American allies” in the wake of the Afghanistan attacks, the Irish Times
“We will closely coordinate on the issues to be dealt with in the near future, military cooperation, migration issues and cooperate with UN Security Council, because in the coming days and weeks we will have to define the course of the mandate of the United Nations,” said Macron, who was in Ireland on a diplomatic visit.
Macron added that the “coming hours will remain extremely dangerous in Kabul and around the airport.”
“As we speak, we have 20 buses of dual citizens and Afghans that we would like to be able to repatriate. I cannot guarantee that we will be successful because the security situation is beyond our control,” said the French President.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen went on Twitter to condemn the “inhuman” Kabul attacks, urging the international community to work together to “avoid resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan and beyond”.
Germany Condemns Tergeting of Kabul
The developments in Afghanistan reportedly prompted
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
to cancel her planned trip to Israel, where she was expected to join Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for a cabinet meeting on Sunday. Merkel will remain in Germany due to “the tense situation in Afghanistan” to monitor the final stages of the evacuation of German troops, set to wrap up Thursday, according to a government spokesperson.
Heiko Maas, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, posted a series of tweets to condemn the Kabul attacks. He also extended condolences to the families of the victims.
Ahead of the US troop evacuation deadline, 31 August, Maas added that Germany was “working flat out to create new exit options – whether via civil flights or overland routes to neighboring countries – in order to enable the remaining local workers and people who are particularly at risk to leave the country,”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the “heartbreaking” situation in Afghanistan, saying Thursday has been a “very difficult day”.
“Our engagement with Afghanistan is not done. Our commitment to resettle over 20,000 Afghans in Canada in the following weeks and months – our work to relocate people in the region and put pressure on the Taliban alongside our international allies to allow people to leave Afghanistan and come to safety in Canada will continue,” Trudeau pledged.
Canada, which has evacuated approximately 3,700 people from Kabul airport, according to acting Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, has announced the end of their airlifting mission, reported AP.
“We stayed in Afghanistan for as long as we could. We were amongst the last to cease evacuations operations,” said Eyre, adding:
“We wish we could have stayed longer and rescued everyone who was so desperate to leave. That we could not is truly heartbreaking, but the circumstances on the ground rapidly deteriorated.”
India Extends Condolences
Indian authorities on Thursday
the terrorist attack near Kabul airport that targeted crowds of people hoping to evacuate from Afghanistan, saying the world needs to stand united against terror.
“India strongly condemns the bomb blasts in Kabul today. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the injured,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
It was added that the developments “reinforce the need for the world to stand unitedly against terrorism and all those who provide sanctuaries to terrorists”.
REUTERS / MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES
China Hopes for ‘Smooth Transition’
China has strongly condemned the Kabul airport attacks, voicing hope that all parties in Afghanistan would take effective measures to ensure a smooth transition after the Taliban seized power in the country.
Beijing has not received reports of any Chinese nationals being hurt, added Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular news briefing.
REUTERS / US MARINES
NATO Secretary-General and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenborg similarly voiced his condolences over the Kabul attacks on Twitter, emphasising that to “evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible” remained a priority.
the US would seek retribution for the attacks that claimed the lives of at least 13 American service members and dozens of Afghans.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” said Biden on Thursday evening at the White House.
He also promised to continue evacuation efforts even after troops are withdrawn, amid calls from some lawmakers to extend the mission in Afghanistan. However, the POTUS planned to adhere to his 31 August withdrawal deadline, according to advisers
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking to reporters outside the Security Council chambers, condemned the attack in “the strongest possible way” and sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.