The number of people known to have died in the Kabul bombing attack rose overnight to at least 95 Afghans and 13 U.S. personnel, as the evacuation flights from the city’s airport reached its final hours.
The death toll of Thursday’s attack at the gates of Kabul airport steadily rose in the hours after the atrocity, but according to new reports the number of dead is now at least 108, and is expected to climb further.
Wires service the Associated Press and Britain’s Sky News both cited figures from Afghan officials Friday morning claiming the number of dead now included 95 Afghan nationals and 13 U.S. armed forces personnel. As Breitbart News previously reported, the U.S. dead killed by the airport’s Abbey Gate included ten Marines, two soldiers, and one Navy medic.
Consequently, Thursday was the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a decade.
Yet the death toll may continue to rise. Again citing the Afghan officials, the AP notes Kabul’s infrastructure is struggling with the level of carnage and some families may have removed the bodies of their loved ones from the scene, meaning their deaths would not have been counted yet.
Meanwhile, the evacuation effort targeted by the suicide bombing — claimed by the local faction of the Islamic State — has resumed, as the final humanitarian flights scheduled to leave Afghanistan prepare to go. While many NATO nations including Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Poland have already ceased operations the United States and the United Kingdom continue.
Flights left Kabul airport Friday morning and crowds continued to throng around the airport in hope of a flight, but British defence secretary Ben Wallace revealed Britain would be accepting no more travellers to the airport, and only those already inside would be getting flights out from now on.
Speaking to Sky News, Wallace said: “We at 0430 this morning… shut the processing centre, and closed the gates at Abbey gate.
“We will process those people we have brought with us, the approximately 1,000 people inside the airfield now, and we will continue to seek a few people in the crowds where we can. But overall the main processing centre is now closed and we have a matter of hours.”
Wallace conceded that there would still be people in Afghanistan the United Kingdom would have tried to evacuate after the final flight goes, but added that he had told the Royal Air Force (RAF) to allow more people onboard flights than normally permitted, to make the most of the remaining take-off slots available at Kabul before Britain’s withdrawal was complete.
In all, the United Kingdom will have evacuated approximately 15,000 people, but left 1,000 behind, The Times of London reports.
Once the final civilian evacuation flight has left, British troops will then complete their withdrawal, with 900 personnel out by the close of the weekend. The United States, Wallace said, will be the last out on Monday.