The death toll from the latest terrorist attacks outside Kabul's international airport has risen to at least 170, U.S. media reported Friday, citing a local official.
ABC News and other media also said at least 200 people were injured in two explosions that occurred on Thursday as the airport was flooded with people wishing to leave Afghanistan amid growing concerns over security and potential human rights infringement following the recent takeover by the Taliban.
One of the two bombs exploded at the Abbey Gate entrance to the Kabul airport and another at the nearby Baron Hotel, the Pentagon confirmed. The hotel served as a gathering point for American citizens in the past for rescue and evacuation, U.S. media reported.
The bombings, for which an Islamic State group affiliate called ISIS-K claimed responsibility through its news website, took place just days ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan as chaotic evacuation operations continue at the airport.
ISIS-K, which is also called Islamic State Khorasan, has a hostile relationship with the Taliban.
The Taliban, an Islamist group which controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, returned to power earlier this month after being ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001.
The group has promised to uphold women's rights "within the framework of Islam," although concerns persist that liberties will be significantly eroded under their strict implementation of shariah law.
Last year, the administration of then President Donald Trump and the Taliban agreed on a full withdrawal of American troops by May 1 this year under a peace deal reached between them.
But current President Joe Biden, who took office Jan. 20, had said it would be difficult to realize the timeline.
In April, Biden announced he would withdraw all the U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the upcoming 20th anniversary of the terror attacks, saying it was "time to end America's longest war." In July, the deadline was moved up to Aug. 31.
But as the Taliban seized city after city before taking control of Kabul on Aug. 15, Afghanistan's security forces collapsed in a matter of days and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Source: Nikkei Asia