Pentagon Confirms Several US Dead and Injured in Kabul Airport Bombings

August 26, 2021Matt White
abbey gate bombing

A picture shared on Twitter of injured civilians that is said to be from outside the Kabul airport.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m., Aug. 26:

The Pentagon confirms that “a number” of American military members were killed in the Kabul bombings. Others, said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, were hurt in the blast. Kirby did not release numbers of casualties or service affiliation.

Confirmation that Americans were killed in the blast marks the first combat-related deaths for US troops in Afghanistan since February 2020.

A tweet in Pashto from a known Taliban-associated Twitter account said the following, per Google Translate:

Response: The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing of civilians at Kabul airport, which took place in an area where US forces are responsible for security. The Islamic Emirate is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circles will be strictly stopped.

The State Department has released an “avoid travel” warning to Americans in Kabul to avoid HKIA.


UPDATE 1:00 p.m., Aug. 26: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the US ambassador to Afghanistan has told staff that four Marines were killed in the twin bombings today in Kabul, though the Pentagon has not confirmed any US deaths.

However, Defense officials have confirmed they believe the bombings were carried out by ISIS-associated groups, not the Taliban. A statement from the Taliban, whose fighters have surrounded the airport in a ring they refer to as security, also said that ISIS elements had carried out the bombing. CNN said that Taliban officials had announced earlier this week that they had detained ISIS-K fighters who had appeared to be observing several spots around the perimeter of the airport.

Videos from the site sent to Coffee or Die Magazine by sources on the ground, which are also circulating on social media, show horrific scenes of dozens of bodies in a canal just outside the airport, a canal described by Coffee or Die in previous reporting as an informal connection point between Western troops and Afghans seeking entry.

A Pentagon briefing is scheduled for 3 p.m.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m., Aug. 26: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed two explosions and injuries to US personnel. Multiple news outlets are reporting that three US Marines were hurt, information matched by reports to Coffee or Die Magazine by sources in communication with people in Kabul.

“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” Kirby tweeted at roughly 11 a.m.  “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate.”

The Abbey gate is a primary place where would-be evacuees have gathered in large numbers in recent days. The State Department specifically warned Americans not to approach the Abbey gate in a communique Wednesday.

UPDATE 10:42 a.m., Aug. 26: The Pentagon is confirming an explosion at or near Hamid Karzai International Airport. Several media outlets are reporting two explosions, though the second remains unconfirmed.

Fox News reports three US troops were hurt in the explosion or in subsequent gunfire, though that information is also unconfirmed.


Other reports say that forces inside the base — which is mainly staffed by US forces — exchanged fire with gunmen outside near the “Abbey” gate, a primary place where would-be evacuees have gathered in large numbers in recent days.

Injuries are reported but details remain vague. Unconfirmed pictures appear to show civilians transporting injured people in wheelbarrows.

This is a developing story. Coffee or Die Magazine will have ongoing updates.

Read Next: DISPATCH: Inside Kabul Airport — ‘A Death Metal Show With One Exit. And the Place Is on Fire’

Matt White
Matt White

Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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