KABUL, Afghanistan — Two explosions killed dozens of individuals, together with not less than 13 U.S. troops, ripping by means of the crowds exterior Afghanistan’s primary airport on Thursday, simply hours after Western governments had warned of an imminent Islamic State assault and instructed their folks to keep away from the airport.

The assault, by not less than two suicide bombers, struck on the solely avenue of escape for the 1000’s of overseas nationals and tens — or tons of — of 1000’s of their Afghan allies who’re making an attempt to flee the nation following the Taliban takeover and forward of the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. troops, set for subsequent Tuesday.

Afghan well being officers gave various estimates of the toll on the worldwide airport in Kabul, the capital — from not less than 30 lifeless to greater than 60, and from 120 wounded to 140 — whereas a Taliban spokesman cited not less than 13 civilians killed and 60 wounded.

For American forces, the assaults had been a ugly coda to nearly 20 years of warfare in Afghanistan — one in all their heaviest losses, simply days earlier than they’re set to go away the nation. Along with 13 service members killed, 15 had been wounded, the Pentagon mentioned.

“We’re outraged in addition to heartbroken,” President Biden mentioned in an deal with from the White Home.

“To those that carried out this assault, in addition to anybody who needs America hurt, know this,” he mentioned to the attackers. “We won’t forgive. We won’t neglect. We’ll hunt you down and make you pay. I’ll defend our pursuits and our folks with each measure at my command.”

Bystanders hoping to seek out survivors picked their method amongst torn and bloodied our bodies that littered the bottom exterior one of many airport’s primary gates, or waded right into a drainage canal the place different our bodies bobbed within the water.

“I noticed our bodies of ladies, youngsters and males scattered throughout after the blast,” mentioned one Afghan witness, who requested anonymity as a result of he feared for his security. He mentioned he and different civilians, together with Taliban fighters, fled after the primary explosion, as a result of there have been rumors that the Islamic State “had despatched 4 suicide bombers,” and he feared extra detonations.

The bombings trace at a brand new spherical of violence which will lie in retailer for a folks and a rustic which have suffered greater than 40 years of warfare, because the Taliban militants’ new rule is being challenged by nonetheless extra excessive teams just like the Islamic State Khorasan, the terrorist department referred to as ISIS-Ok.

The Islamic State claimed accountability for the assaults on behalf of its loyalists in Afghanistan.

Intelligence has revealed different “very, very actual” terrorist threats to the airport, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, instructed a press briefing, together with plans for rocket assaults and a automobile bombing.

However President Biden and different U.S. officers insisted that the carnage and continued hazard wouldn’t halt the American-led airlift that, after a belated and rocky begin, has ferried greater than 100,000 folks out of Afghanistan within the final two weeks. Lots of these had been Afghans who had labored with NATO forces and their households, and who feared Taliban reprisals and hoped to begin new lives in different components of the world.

“We won’t be dissuaded from the duty at hand,” Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III mentioned in an announcement. “To do something much less — particularly now — would dishonor the aim and sacrifice these women and men have rendered our nation and the folks of Afghanistan.”

Just a few hours after the explosions, “we’re persevering with to deliver folks onto the airport,” Basic McKenzie instructed reporters on the Pentagon from his headquarters in Tampa, Fla. “The plan is designed to function below stress.”

Mr. Biden has mentioned repeatedly that he needed to finish the lengthy U.S. involvement in Afghanistan exactly to keep away from such American casualties. Some NATO allies and humanitarian teams have known as on him to delay the ultimate navy withdrawal, however the president mentioned the assaults on Thursday reinforce “why I’ve been so decided to restrict the period of this mission.”

“These American service members who gave their lives,” Mr. Biden mentioned, had been “heroes who’ve been engaged in a harmful, selfless mission to avoid wasting the lives of others.”

A lot of the bombing victims had been Afghan civilians, together with households with young children, who had thronged the airport hoping to get treasured house on one of many departing navy transports. One blast detonated on the Abbey Gate on the southeast perimeter of the airport, and the opposite close to the Baron Lodge just a few hundred toes away.

Mohammad Shah, an Afghan witness, mentioned he had gone to the airport to accompany a good friend who had flown in from France just lately to get married and was prepared to go away. He mentioned he waited at a distance whereas the good friend tried to make his method by means of the group to the airport gate, went on the lookout for him, to no avail, after which heard the primary explosion.

“I acknowledged him from his sandals,” Mr. Shah mentioned of his good friend’s physique, which he mentioned he took to the person’s dad and mom. “The canal was filled with our bodies, dozens of our bodies had been on the bottom, the scenario was very very dangerous within the space.”

On the Emergency Hospital, below the glare of floodlights and the eyes of an anxious crowd, ambulance after ambulance arrived bringing injured folks from the airport, a few of them youngsters. Zargoona, a journalist and former authorities employee, wept as she described how she had acquired a name from a taxi driver informing her that her wounded husband was inside.

“I begged him to not go, however he went this morning along with his authorities I.D. card to attempt to present the foreigners,” she mentioned. “We have now 4 youngsters, what’s going to occur to us now?”

At Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, a health care provider mentioned there have been 27 lifeless and 57 wounded transported from the airport — and no house left within the morgue.

Basic McKenzie mentioned it appeared {that a} suicide bomber, probably sporting a hid explosives vest, had made it by means of the checkpoints exterior the airport, lots of them run by Taliban troopers, who’re purported to detect such attackers. He mentioned he had no cause to imagine that the Taliban, who’re looking forward to the People to go away as rapidly as attainable, knowingly let the bomber by means of.

The chief Taliban spokesman, nonetheless, made a degree of claiming that the assault occurred in an space the place American forces managed safety.

The explosion hit on the airport gate, the place U.S. troops display people who find themselves making an attempt to get in. Gunfire adopted, but it surely was not clear who was taking pictures. The overall mentioned American forces will work with the Taliban to maintain crowds farther again from the airport gates, and to shut some roads to thwart automobile assaults.

“That is close-up battle — the breath of the particular person you might be looking out is upon you,” Basic McKenzie mentioned, including, “I can not inform you how impressed I’m with the heroism” of the service members doing that perilous work.

“If we will discover who’s related to this, we are going to go after them,” he mentioned.

Mr. Biden vowed, “we are going to reply with pressure and precision at our time” in opposition to the Islamic State leaders who ordered the assault. He added, “We have now some cause to imagine we all know who they’re.”

U.S. Marines at Abbey Gate had been working tirelessly for days, properly conscious that their time to assist Afghans and U.S. residents flee the nation was working quick because the Aug. 31 withdrawal date drew close to. Ten of them had been among the many lifeless.

The State Division had recognized about 6,000 People who had been in Afghanistan on Aug. 14, the day earlier than the Taliban started getting into Kabul and the U.S.-backed president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the nation. On Wednesday, the division mentioned that determine was right down to 1,500 and it was making an attempt frantically to achieve all of them, telling them to get to the airport or sending helicopters to extract them.

However then the intelligence on an impending assault prompted the USA and NATO allies to inform folks in a single day to not strategy the airport. Even so, by Thursday afternoon, the State Division mentioned, about 500 extra People had left the nation, and tons of extra had been awaiting evacuation, whereas some U.S. residents had signaled that they don’t intend to go away.

Early Friday morning, alarmed Kabul residents reported one other sequence of explosions close to the airport, setting off fears of one other bombing assault. Taliban officers and Afghan journalists quickly reported in any other case: It was the People, they mentioned, destroying their very own tools as they ready to go away Afghanistan.

Reporting was contributed by Jim Huylebroek, Victor Blue, Fahim Abed, Najim Rahim, Fatima Faizi, Helene Cooper, Michael Shear and Lara Jakes.