Kabul: Over 20 people were killed and more than 50 others wounded, including US citizens, in twin explosions that ripped through thronging crowds outside Kabul airport on Thursday evening.
The blasts are suspected to be suicide attacks and came hours after the US warned its citizens to stay away from the airport citing security fears.
Three US Marines were among those injured in the first blast at Abbey Gate at Kabul airport, Fox News reported, quoting US officials.
A video of the blasts, taken from afar, showed a huge bright explosion lighting up the sky and then plumes of smoke rising high into the sky, followed by an explosion of bright light within seconds.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said one explosion took place at the Abbey Gate of the airport, while the other one took place near Baron Hotel, a short distance away.
He said the first explosion was “the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US and civilian casualties”.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US and 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,” he said in a tweet.
Abbey Gate is one of four entrances to the airport, where thousands of people had gathered everyday since August 15 in a desperate effort to leave the country after Kabul fell to the Taliban.
CBS News quoting sources said a suicide bomber was responsible for the explosion at Abbey Gate. US President Joe Biden was being briefed on the situation in the White House Situation Room, it said.
The blast occurred among a crowd of Afghans waiting close to the Baron camp who were trying to leave the country, according to an eyewitness, Tolo News said.
The Baron camp is adjacent to the airport.
According to Asvka News, the number of those dead is over 20 and more than 50 have been injured. It showed a graphic video of several people lying dead with body parts scattered and their belongings strewn across on the ground.
Another video showed dead people slumped into a massive drain-like channel with sewage water in which Afghans were standing since morning, waiting to leave the country. The video showed people trying to pull out the injured from inside the sewage water, while some of those injured were too badly injured or shocked to even attempt to get out.
The injured were being rushed to hospital.
Another website, Etilaatroz reported that several foreigners were among those killed in the explosion.
The US Embassy in a security alert said: “There has been a large explosion at the airport, and there are reports of gunfire.
“U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates. Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” it said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Earlier, the US embassy in Kabul warned US citizens to avoid the airport due to a possible terror attack.