Afghanistan’s likely foreign minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai has denied possibilities of the Haqqani network as the mastermind behind Kabul airport blasts.
On reports pointing at Haqqani and ISIS taking responsibility, he said, ” This is what enemies of Afghan people say. It’s not true and it’s completely false. Since Daish has taken the responsibility, it is clear that Daish has done it.”
The Haqqani network is an Afghan guerrilla insurgent group that used asymmetric warfare to fight against US-led NATO forces.
Speaking exclusively to CNN-News18 from Doha, he said, “In media, I saw Daish (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) took the responsibility of the attack.”
Twin explosions had rocked the Afghanistan capital on Thursday evening causing a bloodbath among civilians and members of the US security forces deployed in the area and wounding close to 70. The US described the blasts as a ‘result of a complex attack’, and confirmed there were US casualties.
The Pentagon said “a number” of American service members were killed. One U.S. official said according to initial reports at least 10 had died, Reuters reported.
The Taliban, who are currently in control of Afghanistan after a bloody and violent siege, condemned the twin explosions and clarified that the area was being secured by the US troops.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group strongly condemns Thursday’s attack and is paying close attention to security. The attack was believed to be carried out by Afghanistan’s Islamic State group affiliate, which is separate from and more radical than the Taliban.
The toll could be anywhere ‘between 13 and 20’, reported AFP quoting a Taliban spokesperson, while local media pegged the number of deaths at over 40.
There was no official death toll of Afghan civilians but video images uploaded by Afghan journalists showed dozens of bodies of people killed in packed crowds outside the airport.
A watery ditch by the airport fence was filled with bloodsoaked corpses, some being fished out and laid in heaps on the canal side while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.
Several Western countries said the airlift of civilians was now effectively over, with the United States having sealed the gates of the airport leaving no way out for tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the West through two decades of war.
Local media reported that there appeared to have been two separate but simultaneous attacks, one by a suicide bomber near buses lined up outside the Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate, where the blast was followed by a small arms fire.