Twelve US troops were killed and 15 wounded in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport on Thursday, the Pentagon confirmed, marking the deadliest day for US forces in Afghanistan in a decade.
"We know that 12 US service members were killed in the attack," General Kenneth McKenzie said.
US sources told The Associated Press and Reuters that 11 marines and one navy medic had been killed in the attack.
Gen McKenzie, commander of Centcom, said a suicide bomber appeared to have detonated their explosive device while being screened by US personnel at an airport entrance. A second blast struck a nearby fortified hotel soon after.
Additional attacks were possible in Kabul, with ongoing "extremely active threats" at the airport.
“We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks and we expect those attacks to continue," the four-star general said.
"If we find who was behind this, we will go after them," he continued, while not naming who was responsible.
Thursday’s fatalities are the first time any US troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan since February 2020, when two army sergeants died in an apparent insider attack in Nangarhar province.
The deaths mark the deadliest day for US forces since 2011, when 31 Americans -- including 23 Navy SEALs -- were killed in a helicopter shoot-down.
Overall casualty numbers were not clear, but many Afghan civilians were believed to have been killed at the airport.
“A number of others are being treated for wounds,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
“We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack.”
An emergency hospital in Kabul said it had received 60 wounded patients.
The US State Department and western allies had told people to leave the vicinity of the Kabul airport “immediately”, hours before the explosions.
President Joe Biden this week stated that the US government has been detecting threats from ISIS-K, the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan.
This is a developing story …