Explosion reported at Kabul airport

KABUL (thehill): An explosion was reported Thursday at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense confirmed.

“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby tweeted.

“We will provide additional details when we can.”

Thousands of people had gathered outside the airport in recent days as American civilians and Afghans sought to get aboard evacuation flights being conducted by the U.S. military ahead of its withdrawal from the country on Aug. 31.

President Biden and lawmakers had warned that the masses of people centralized around the airport made it a potentially attractive target for terrorists.

“There are real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration,” Biden said Tuesday in explaining his plan to withdraw by Aug. 31 despite calls to extend the mission. “The longer we stay, starting with the acute and growing risk of an attack by a terrorist group known as ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan — which is the sworn enemy of the Taliban as well — every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both U.S. and Allied forces and innocent civilians.”

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said after a briefing with the intelligence community Monday that threats against the airport were “very real and very substantial.”

 “This has been a concern of mine for some days now — that this would make a very attractive target for ISIS-K or for elements of Al Qaeda,” Schiff said.