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Breaking: Explosion outside Kabul airport, suspected suicide attack

written by Adam Thorn | August 27, 2021
Members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment assist with locating Afghan Australian visa holders at Kabul Airport. (Defence, SGT Glen McCarthy)

An explosion has been reported outside Kabul airport, with three US officials now saying it is a suspected suicide attack.

The explosion happened in a drainage canal along the road to the airport, which has been described as a chock point where thousands of people are filtering through.

It comes with the RAAF still in the midst of its biggest-ever evacuation mission to get Australian citizens out of the capital, which last week fell to the Taliban.

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President Biden has been briefed on the incident, though the number of causalities as yet unknown.

It came on the day US officials warned of an impending terrorist attack, with tensions on the ground flaring and tear gas and fire hoses being used to control crowds.

Australia’s Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, said on Thursday the situation in Afghanistan was “dire” and “deteriorating”.

“This is a very difficult situation, we do have credible threats and intelligence in relation to planned terrorist attacks at the airport and in that vicinity,” he said.

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“People should not gather at the gates at the airport, that they should move immediately from that area and that they should not be in areas of large gatherings.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne also called Afghanistan a “highly volatile and dangerous” place.

So far, the RAAF has evacuated 2,700 people from the aiport, using its C-130J Hercules, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and two C-17A Globemasters.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ADF personnel getting those in danger out are “real heroes”.

“They are going through what is an extraordinarily tense time and they are getting people out,” PM Morrison said.

“We’ve been going like we won’t be able to get another flight in the next day, so we’ve been trying to make every flight as successful as possible.

“We’ll keep doing that for as long as we can. If that deadline [31 August] is able to be pushed out, we’ve made it clear to the United States we support that.”

The Taliban has repeatedly insisted the last day of the month is a “red line” for withdrawal, with its forces currently allowing evacuations to take place without interference.

More to follow…

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