UK authorities confirmed two British nationals were included among the dead, as well as the child of a British national – all from different families attempting to secure an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan.
A suicide bomber rocked the war-torn country’s capital yesterday in a targeted attack claimed by Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his condolences to the families of the victims, adding “I think what their loss really underlines is the urgency of getting on and concluding Operation Pitting in the way that we are”.
Pentagon confirms Kabul attack was a single bomb
“Also it underlines the bravery of our armed services, our troops, everybody else involved in it, the bravery of the American military who are doing so much as well.”
The UK’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan – titled Operation Pitting – is on track to be completed in the coming hours, with about 100 people already returned and a further 1000 personnel still on the ground.
Mr Johnson conceded some people would be left behind in Kabul.
He said, however, officials would do whatever was possible to help more refugees out in the second phase as securing a safe passage for foreign nationals was integral to the west’s relationship with the Taliban moving forward.
The UK is set to complete its evacuation operation in Afghanistan within hours after a deadly bombing claimed the lives of three British nationals, including a child. Picture: Getty Images
The death toll has risen to at last 95 and hundreds more are wounded after a suicide bombing outside Kabul’s crowded international airport on Thursday (local time). Picture: Getty Images
Meanwhile, Australian officials are yet to confirm the number of citizens and visa holders left in Afghanistan after forces were quickly withdrawn just hours before the deadly terrorist strike.
Intelligence warnings via radio chatter prompted a 24-hour deadline to end Australia’s evacuation mission in Afghanistan – which saw more than 4,000 airlifted out of the country since August 15.
Australian, UK and United States forces launched rapid rescue operations in response to a growing humanitarian crisis following a lightening Taliban offensive across the country.
The hard-line Islamist group rapidly gained control of Afghanistan early in August causing concerns about human rights violations, particularly toward Afghan women.
The last Australian flight departed Kabul just four hours before the suicide bombing on Thursday, and is understood to have been delayed on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s instructions as soldiers tracked down a woman and three-year-old child.
“Australia condemns the evil, calculated and inhuman attacks that were undertaken in Kabul overnight on the innocent and on the brave,” Mr Morrison declared on Friday as he confirmed the conclusion of the country’s operation in Afghanistan.  
Morrison: Australia condemns ‘calculated and inhuman’ Kabul attacks
Pentagon confirms only one explosion set off 
The Pentagon on Friday confirmed there was just one bombing outside Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday despite initial reports of two deadly explosions. 
Officials confirmed a suicide bomber caused an explosion at the Abbey Gate outside the crowded airport, but there was not a second outside the Baron hotel – as early reports claimed. 
Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations Army Major General William ‘Hank’ Taylor confirmed the news for the public on Friday (local time). 
“I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber,” he said in a press briefing. 
“We’re not sure how that report was provided incorrectly.” 
US’ bungled Afghanistan withdrawal a ‘crisis of Biden’s making’: Goddard
The Pentagon remains on alert, warning further attacks are expected to be carried out. 
US President Joe Biden fiercely condemned ISIS-K on Thursday, saying American forces “will hunt you down and make you pay”, with plans in place for a retaliatory strike. 
In a press briefing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Mr Biden’s intention to avenge 13 US servicemen killed in the bombing. 
“The President made absolutely clear that we are going to hunt down, go after and kill the terrorists who are responsible. Everyone should be supportive of that,” she said. 
Speaking to Sky News Australia on Saturday morning, The Hill’s White House correspondent Niall Stanage said there was some support amongst the American public to retaliate against ISIS.
“Having said that there’s not honestly any great American appetite for getting fully re-engaged in Afghanistan,” he said. 
Biden administration needs to act to deal with ’emboldened’ terrorists
“I think the main criticism of the American public right now is the execution of the withdrawal which has been a shambles and a damaging one for President Biden. 
“There’s a lot of blame to go around, a lot of finger pointing happening here in Washington as always happens in politics when things go wrong, there’s a lot of people trying to say ‘I have nothing to do with that’ and put the blame on someone else.” 
Mr Biden stressed the US remains committed to its August 31 withdrawal date. 
 
 

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