Kabul explosion: Two suicide bombers and gunman involved in 'complex attack'

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CNBC's Eamon Javers reports on more details from the unfolding situation in Kabul after two explosions took place. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that several service members have been killed after two explosions went off near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We can confirm that a number of service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

“We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured,” he added.

About 5,400 servicemembers are assisting with evacuation efforts in Kabul. The British have about 1,000 troops assisting with the evacuation efforts. The Ministry of Defense said there were no reported casualties among its government and military personnel in Kabul after the attack.

Kirby said the explosion at the airport’s Abbey Gate “was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of and civilian casualties.” At least one other explosion occurred near the Baron Hotel not far from the Abbey Gate, he added.

The Pentagon will hold a press briefing at 3 ET.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been briefed on the situation.

“The president met with his national security team Thursday morning, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley as well as commanders on the ground in Kabul,” the White House said in a statement.

“He will continue to be briefed on updates on the evolving situation throughout the day,” the statement added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also been updated on the situation at the airport, a spokesperson said.

A meeting slated for 11:30 ET between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House has also been delayed.

The Embassy in Kabul described the explosion as “large” and said there were reports of gunfire, urging Americans to avoid travel to the airport and its gates.

The embassy had previously issued a security alert urging Americans to avoid the airport, “ citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” the alert said.

In the last 24 hours, Western forces evacuated 13,400 people out of Kabul on 91 military cargo aircraft flights. Since the mass evacuations began Aug. 14, approximately 95,700 people have been airlifted out of Afghanistan.

About 101,300 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including about 4,500 citizens and their families.

Blinken said Wednesday that there may be as many as 1,500 Americans in Afghanistan left to evacuate, a calculation he explained was “difficult to pin down with absolute precision at any given moment.”

The nation’s top diplomat added that the currently is “aggressively reaching out” to about 1,000 contacts “multiple times a day, through multiple channels of communication” to determine if they still want to leave and to give them instructions on how to do so.

Blinken added the actual number could also be lower.

“The government does not track Americans’ movements when they travel around the world,” Blinken said in his first press briefing since the collapse of the Afghan government to the Taliban more than a week ago.

“There could be other Americans in Afghanistan who never enrolled with the embassy, who ignored public evacuation notices and have not yet identified themselves.”

Biden on Tuesday reiterated to leaders of the G-7, NATO, United Nations and European Union that the United States will withdraw its military from Afghanistan by the end of the month.

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