MCKENZIE: "This is a hard day today."
U.S. General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said 12 U.S. troops were killed and 15 others were injured on Thursday after suicide bombings at and around Kabul's airport in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
MCKENZIE: "Two suicide bombers assessed to have been ISIS fighters detonated in the vicinity of the Abbey gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and in the vicinity of the Baron Hotel, which is immediately adjacent. The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunman who opened fire on civilians and military forces."
McKenzie told a news briefing at the Pentagon that, despite the continued threats, evacuations from Afghanistan will continue, adding that U.S. forces would "go after" the perpetrators of Thursday's attack.
Social media footage captured the depths of the horror, showing bodies lining a watery ditch by the airport fence, some being fished out and laid in heaps while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.
In addition to the U.S. service members who were killed, McKenzie said there were many more fatalities among Afghan civilians, and witnesses said children were among them.
MCKENZIE: "A number of Afghan civilians were also killed and injured in the attack. We are treating some of them aboard H Kaia. Many other Afghan civilians have been taken out to hospitals in town. We're still working to calculate the total losses. We just don't know what that is right now."
The attacks came after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by Islamic State, specifically an Afghan affiliate known as ISIS-K, a group opposed by both the United States and the Taliban.
A massive airlift of foreign nationals and their families as well as some Afghans has been under way since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on Aug. 15, capping a swift advance across the country as U.S. and allied troops withdrew.
The United States has been racing to carry out the evacuations before the U.S. military is set to fully withdraw from the country on Aug. 31.